The construction site outside the Washington Irving High School campus (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A report on the ongoing construction at the Washington Irving High School campus released by the Department of Investigation last Monday determined that the School Construction Authority has not violated city, state or federal regulations as a result of the work, contrary to complaints from neighbors regarding noise, dust and other safety issues.
The SCA’s Office of the Inspector General received numerous complaints about the project regarding noise and dust but said in the report that the testing of noise levels has not resulted in any violations from the Department of Environmental Protection or the Department of Buildings.
Although the DEP received more than 80 noise complaints between March 24, 2017, and December 17, 2018, and inspectors visited the site more than 80 times, the agency never issued a summons for a noise violation.
Worker doing dustless masonry cutting through an air conditioner opening (Photos courtesy of Empire Core)
By Sabina Mollot
At Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, about 275 apartments are gut renovated each year, with 35-70 going on at any given time, depending on the season.
While this can boost the value of the property for the owner, for residents of adjoining apartments, the apartment transformations just mean weeks of ongoing noise from power tools and dust clouds that permeate the air.
Fortunately, Empire Core Group, the company that oversees the gut renovation of apartments in ST/PCV, done by contractors, has, within the past year primarily, begun using new tools aimed at reducing both the noise and dust levels as well as the time needed to complete the jobs.
Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town’s general manager, said the effort came as a result of management getting bombarded with calls by residents who live in apartments near those being worked on.
Question for our readers this week: Is the city too easy on construction infractions like lack of permits and higher than allowable noise levels? We welcome readers’ insight at firstname.lastname@example.org or in comments on this post. Please specify if you would like to remain anonymous.
Another option for phone service
To the editor:
Verizon wants to discontinue all of its copper wire, landline telephone service to PCV/ST. It will ask each of its landline customers here to allow it to install new equipment in their apartment that will transmit Verizon’s TV, Internet and telephone service to their apartment over the airways instead of over copper wires. The new telephone service will not be connected to a Verizon generator that provides electricity to keep the phone operating during a blackout. It will have a battery back-up module that’s installed in your apartment.
Verizon recently contacted me to sell me this change in service. They told me that if I didn’t make an appointment for installation of the new equipment, they would suspend my telephone service. I thought there was a better solution and didn’t make the appointment. Verizon suspended my telephone service.
New initiative for teaching teachers
Have you ever wondered how schools are preparing our students from kindergarten through high school to understand climate, how it affects us and what we can do about it? One solution that has been suggested is to reach out to the teacher training colleges who prepare the adult students to be teachers before they enter the children’s classrooms. Here in New York City, Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University are both participating with the New York CityDepartment Of Education (DOE) Office of Sustainability, to increase environmental and sustainability education for teachers and students. There is also an initiative from NYC DOE to strengthen the sustainability coordinator position in each public school.
We were delighted that State Senator Brian Kavanaugh was able to speak at the recent meeting of the Environmental Education Advisory Council (EEAC) dealing with the aforementioned issues. The senator spoke about initiatives on the environment that he sponsored when he served in the State Assembly before he won a spot in the State Senate recently. He also offered suggestions for helping to improve environmental and sustainability education in the schools.
Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick (pictured at City Hall) have co-sponsored legislation aimed at making noise mitigation plans for construction sites less of a secret.
By Sabina Mollot
In New York City, especially in Manhattan, construction noise is usually impossible to escape. This is even true early in the mornings or later in the evenings at some construction sites, for what, to sleep-deprived neighbors, at least appears to be non-emergency work.
On East 14th Street, Stuyvesant Town residents have complained of late night Con Ed work. Meanwhile, on East 23rd Street, Peter Cooper residents have been dealing with on-and-off pre-sunrise construction relating to the VA Medical Center’s construction of a flood wall.
The canned response to New Yorkers facing what they consider excess noise is to call 3-1-1. However, that doesn’t always work because if work is being done at night, an inspection isn’t going to be scheduled until another day and at that time, there may not be an unacceptable level of noise.