ESCR will mean lots of noise for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

East Side Coastal Resiliency Project rendering showing the Stuyvesant Cove area

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project has found that construction on the flood protection project will likely create disruptive noise for some residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The document, released by the Department of Design and Construction on Friday, April 5, predicts that construction on the flood protection system will result in “significant adverse noise effects” for 315-321 Avenue C and 620 East 20th Street in Stuy Town and 601 East 20th Street, 8 Peter Cooper Road, 7 Peter Cooper Road, 530 East 23rd Street and 520 East 23rd Street in Peter Cooper.

Despite the increase in outside noise, the DEIS predicts that the decibel levels will actually be considered acceptable inside when the windows are closed because the buildings in ST/PCV have insulated glass. Other buildings within the project area farther downtown, as well as the Asser Levy recreation center, appear to have non- insulating glass windows and are expected to experience noise levels higher than the threshold recommended for residential use, according to City Environmental Quality Review noise exposure guidelines, due to pile driving and other construction work west of the FDR immediately adjacent to the rec center building.

The 961-page document examined overall potential impacts of the plan that the city has chosen to provide continuous flood protection for the East Side, in addition to considering the impact of not building any flood protection and four other alternative plans that the city considered.

The plan that the city has chosen to implement, known in the DEIS as the “preferred alternative,” is a flood protection system that integrates a combination of floodwalls, floodgates and supporting infrastructure improvements that would reduce damage from coastal storms. A key element to the plan is elevating and reconstructing East River Park, a proposal that was met with controversy because the city spent more than $2 million on new amenities for the park in the last year that will now be bulldozed.

The chosen proposal also includes flood protection with open space improvements at Murphy Brothers Playground, Stuyvesant Cove Park and Asser Levy Playground, an improved shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists and a shared-use flyover bridge to address the narrow waterfront public access near the Con Edison facility between East 13th and 15th Streets.

The plan includes two swing floodgates across the FDR near East 13th Street that would provide flood protection across the highway when deployed but in non-storm conditions would be recessed to the sides of the highway. The floodwall then continues north and connects with the existing flood protection at the Con Edison East River Generating Station between East 14th and 15th Streets.

The wall would continue to Murphy Brothers along the east side of the park, which would be reconstructed with new ballfields and recreational spaces. At the northeast corner of the playground, the wall would turn east along Avenue C towards the East River, with two swing gates crossing the FDR Drive ramps and under the elevated FDR into Stuyvesant Cove. The flood protection would go north in Stuy Cove, where the system would be comprised of floodwalls and roller gates at Avenue C and the East 20th Street entrance to allow access to the park during non-storm conditions.

Similar to the plan for Murphy’s Brothers, the Asser Levy Playground would be redesigned and reconstructed, and a roller floodgate has been proposed to connect with the VA Medical Center floodwall. Construction is expected to begin on the project next year and be completed by 2023.

Other possible adverse effects of the preferred alternative, as well as the other proposed alternatives, would be the blocking of views to the waterfront and the East River from multiple locations within the project area. The DEIS said that lowering the floodwalls would allow continued views of the waterfront but would prevent the project from providing adequate flood protection.

The alternative plans proposed have similar components to the project that has been chosen but have longer expected construction times at five years, compared to 3.5 years for the preferred alternative.

The entire document is available to view on the city’s ESCR website at and print copies will also be available at the board offices for Community Boards 3 and 6. The DEIS is available for public comment through August 15 and comments can be submitted by email at or and by mail at New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, c/o Colleen Alderson, Chief of Parklands and Real Estate, The Arsenal, Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 401, New York, New York 10065 or New York City Office of Management and Budget, c/o Calvin Johnson, Assistant Director CDBG-DR, 255 Greenwich Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

There will also be a public hearing for the relevant agencies to receive comments on the DEIS at 10 a.m. on July 31 at 120 Broadway on the concourse level.

6 thoughts on “ESCR will mean lots of noise for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

  1. The windows in Stytown do NOT have insulated glass. They were supposed to be insulated, but because they are defective all the argon gas had to be removed from between the double panes, leaving them distinctly NOT insulated. Of course, we are paying a permanent MCI for these defective windows with no hope of it ever being removed.

    • I lived on Avenue C over the FDR when the new windows were installed in the early 90’s. The decrease in inside noise was dramatic, UNTIL that modification, after which they became only marginally better that the old single pane glass windows they replaced.

  2. “will actually be considered acceptable inside when the windows are closed because the buildings in ST/PCV have insulated glass.

    This is a false statement. ALL PCVST windows are defective for noise and insulation:The inert gas that insulated and provided noise reduction caused the windows to implode and was removed. Why the T&V is not fact checking such statements is beyond me.

    From the NY Times 7/3/1994:

    “But tenant leaders question whether the planned repair will work. The windows were designed with argon, a nontoxic gas, between the panes to enhance their insulating effectiveness. Critics in the tenants’ association say that holes will allow the argon to escape, defeating its purpose, and could also admit moisture and cause condensation inside the windows. Nancy Peskin, a Met Life spokeswoman, said the holes will be so small as to be virtually invisible, and there is no plan to reseal them after the air pressure is equalized.”

  3. I would like the T&V to follow up and ask the DEIS where they got the information that “will actually be considered acceptable inside when the windows are closed because the buildings in ST/PCV have insulated glass.”? From Blackstone/SPS? Again, a false statement.

  4. We are screwed. A lot of money was spent on making the East River boardwalk new and friendly to the people who use it and the parks next to it. That money is now pissed away, and the middle-class and poor people who use the parks can go–where? But it will be wonderful for the expensive high-rises that will be built there. A terrible decision. And, yes, Stuy Town windows are currently NOT insulated.

  5. Pingback: City holds open house on East Side Coastal Resiliency | Town & Village

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