City says noisy MTS work should wrap up later this month
BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS
Residents near the East 91st Street marine transfer station say they’re losing sleep due to all-night construction of the trash facility and have started a petition to revoke the contractor’s all-night work permit.
“Many of the residents on the Upper East Side, particularly those of us who live in the five buildings on York Avenue, have been experiencing deafening jack-hammering starting at midnight — or earlier — and continuing through until 4 a.m.,” said Linda Garvin, who lives in the Hamilton at 1735 York Ave., which is owned by Glenwood Management.
Other affected buildings, said Garvin, include The Brittany and The Barclay, which are nearby on York and also owned by Glenwood, and several residential buildings on East 90th Street.
“I spoke to all the doormen, they all have the same issues,” said Garvin, who is spearheading the petition drive and has so far collected over 70 signatures from area residents. “There’s definitely a lot of interest, people are going crazy about this.”
And, she said, calling 311 leads to dead end after dead end.
“There have been many complaints to 311 but they get shuffled around from department to department, winding back at 311 to no avail,” Garvin said. “They tell you to call 311 who tells you to call Department of Buildings, who tells you to call 311. So basically you get nowhere.”
Recent 311 data shows a sharp increase in construction noise complaints in the area near the construction site. From May 1 to the end of August, there were 123 complaints to 311 on York Avenue from 88th Street to 92nd Street. From Sept. 1 to Oct. 15, there were 185 complaints. According to the 311 map, the complaints were either sent onto the Department of Environmental Protection for review or were found by the DEP to not warrant an inspection or investigation.
The city’s contractor, Skanska USA, has an after-hours work variance that allows them to start work at midnight. Garvin questioned whether the company violates the terms of the permit as jack-hammering often begins around 11 p.m. Skanska referred comment to the city’s Department of Design and Construction.
Shavone Williams, a spokesperson for the DDC, told Our Town that Skanska’s permit allows work around the clock.
“The permit allows the project to work from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the days listed,” Williams said. “Work prior to midnight is not a violation of our permit since the afterhours permit covers a full 24-hour period.”
Williams said the night work is being done over FDR Drive, and must be performed at that time due to restrictions on when the city can close lanes on the thoroughfare. “We expect to complete the current part of this noise generating work this month, though other night work will occur in the future,” she said.
The DDC, she said, strives to be a good neighbor to the residents and businesses near their construction projects.
“While performing night work, our contractor has lower noise limitations than during daytime operations,” Williams said. “We are continuously monitoring noise throughout the work period and have stayed within our contractual limits during the night hours.”
But those lower noise limitations aren’t helping Garvin or her neighbors.
“It’s been horrible because you can’t sleep at night it’s so loud,” said Garvin. “It echoes up because the [Asphalt Green athletic] field is right next to it and they’re jack-hammering and cement scraping. All you hear all night is the beeping of the trucks backing up.”
Garvin said if she’d known about how loud the construction would be when she moved into the Hamilton in June she probably would’ve looked elsewhere for an apartment.
“I knew there was a project there but I didn’t really pay attention,” she said, noting that construction wasn’t going on when she moved in. “It’s a quality of life issue if you can’t get to bed until 5 a.m. and you have to work at 9 a.m. I’m a native New Yorker from way, way back and this is more than I can bear.”
Williams said her department is working as fast as it can.
“I can assure you that we will continue to vigorously monitor the noise our project generates and attempt to work as efficiently as possible to complete our night operations as expeditiously as possible,” she said.