Monday, January 28, 2013

[Updated] The 'insane' noise and pounding are back at 185 Avenue B

[EVG file photo from last November]

On Friday, the incessant pounding from a pile-driver returned to the construction site on Avenue B at East 12th Street, where a seven-story apartment complex is in the works. (As previously reported, Rev. Carlos Torres of the the Elim Pentecostal Church, the previous occupant here, is the owner of the site. The ground-floor will house the church and a community center. The upper levels of the new building will be designated for some combination of housing.)

On Dec. 18, the DOB issued a Full Stop Order ... and the site remained inactive until Friday. A DOB inspector found a "vertical crack between buildings 181/183 Avenue B" directly next door to the site, per DOB paperwork.

Said one reader in the comments on our last post:

My son attends the school next to this site and the noise is insane. His entire classroom shakes when they are pile driving and the teachers have to shout to be heard. I complained to the construction manager, who told me even he didn't understand why the city was permitting them to build during school hours...

Apparently all is well in the eyes of the city, as the DOB rescinded the Stop Work Order.

Meanwhile, nearby residents and parents of the school next to the site remain understandably unhappy.

Said one in an email this morning:

Parents and teachers of the school next door are *very* upset about it, as the construction noise seems to coincide exactly with school hours and is incredibly disruptive — I'm a parent and honestly it sounds like the pile driving is *inside* the classroom.

One resident posted a quick video this morning, showing just how loud the construction is. Find that here.

There have been seven complaints filed with the city since the construction restarted, records show. One resident figures the city won't do anything else until the nearby buildings collapse.

Updated 1:30

6 seconds of what the noise is like for 8 hours...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Inside the Charles

Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B

7-story building in the works to replace former countercultural theater/church on Avenue B

Construction site at 185 Avenue B remains shut down for now


Anonymous said...

Those windows on the right side belong to the school. Note how the steel girders are mere feet away fromn them. Inside are little kids and teachers. This one photo, ladies and gentlemen, documents how much the city cares about education over development.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this! I live down the street from this site on 12th Street near Avenue A. I am almost a full block away, but I woke up this morning to the pounding sound once again (it started just after 8 a.m.), and there were times when I could feel little jolts, like my building was moving. I can only imagine what it is like for the people who live in buildings right there.

Anonymous said...

Hey, why should kids get to learn in peace when there's money to be made and a culture to destroy.

I can only hope that when these kids get older and look back at the history of New York during this time they'll see how insane it was that what once made the city interesting and great was leveled to make way for 'redevelopment' corporatization. I also hope that in the future when they look at the people of Gen-Y who will then be in their middle age that they see a culture who during their youth were a bunch of privileged, lame-brain, time wasters and challege them the same way the counter-culture of the 60s challeneged the old farts of their parents' generation.

glamma said...

Wow. That is so f*cked up.

Anonymous said...

I'm half a block away & it is crazy. They started at 7:40AM today.

Anonymous said...

Why blame Gen Y? Or even the rich young people creating the demand for buildings like this? It's a generation of Boomer politicians like Bloomberg and Giuliani that established the "New York as playground for the rich and fuck everyone else" ethos, and it's a generation of Boomer politicians like Bush and Obama that established the "Wall Street can do whatever the fuck it wants without consequence and widening social inequality is teh awesome" ethos. And it's their world -- we're just lowly renters in it


Generation Yunnie wants new. New! New! New! They don't want to adapt to the existing, they want the existing to adapt to them. That's why so many buildings are being torn down and replaced with soulless glass boxes. Rather fitting if you ask me. Bloomberg and his corporate interests are all too happy to facilitate this. All this "progress" at the expense of those of us with roots here.

Anonymous said...


I think it is obvious why blame Gen Y. Because (most of) the people blaming them aren't a part of that generation. It's convenient.

glamma said...

Regardless of anything else, it is illegal to do this at 7:40 am.
Call 311, over and over.
It is the 311 calls that get logged.
Document and complain.
It sucks, but it's something.

Anonymous said...

That is enough to drive you nuts. Buildings of certain height or scale should not be zoned for side streets and residential areas.
The DOB just facilitates these jerk landlords.
Everyone check out the story of the nearly 200 year old building on DNA info- some Corporate firm owns a landmarked building, let it rot and sit vacant for 12 years despite numerous 311 calls and parts of the building falling onto the sidewalk and now it has partially collapsed. Seems they are waiting for it to be condemned so they can build condos. And this is allowed and they don't get fined for endangering people and letting a piece of NYC history fall apart.
So are we really surpised the DOB looks the other way so rich assholes can get what they want

Dan LD said...

I live directly across the street from this construction site. The noise is unbelievable - it literally shakes the entire building, and goes on for most of the day.

I logged numerous complaints with 311. So far, I've had no luck speaking with an actual human, as opposed to a recording, at the DOB. Moreover, I was advised today by CB3 that this is not an appropriate issue to bring up at their 2/26 meeting.

The stop work order is still posted on the wall around the construction site, but it certainly seems like that's been rescinded.

The building in this neighborhood, I would guess, are not built to withstand that kind of sustained impact.

And give me a break with this "blame Generation Y" BS. I'm 27 and this affects me just as much, if not more, than whoever is wasting their time blaming anyone but the construction developer for this ridiculousness.

Morgan Tsvangirai said...

It is legal to start construction at 7:00am, so there's nothing you can do about that fact. However, it certainly seems like a it breaks decibel requirements that the city sets, and it is insane that it's able to happen during school hours.

I am woken up by it every day, but it's finished when I come home. What time does it stop in the afternoon?

"One resident figures the city won't do anything else until the nearby buildings collapse."
As I noted in a previous post on the subject, the city still won't do anything even if the buildings DO collapse. The huge, hideous hotel on Bowery and Hester took not one but TWO buildings down with it, but construction continued and the former residents of those buildings are STILL seeking compensation.

@Anon 7:13PM:
Technically, this area is zoned specifically for Avenue B rather than the side streets nearby. If I'm reading the map correctly, and the glossary too, buildings on Avenue B can only be up to 8 floors while buildings on the side streets can only be 6.

Anonymous said...

Contact every news channel. One of them will do a story on it.

Anonymous said...

i agree w/annon 8:25pm

that said, i live on 3 st between 1st and 2nd. about 15 years ago my back windows looked out upon a serene "courtyard" where people had planted gardens, trees had grown 5 stories high, and the old theater along 4th st (entrance on 2nd ave) had graffitti likely from the 1950s. one day i woke to the noise of workers demolishing that theater brick by brick. the next summer for 3 solid months i had that exact same noise outside my window from 7-7 and sometimes on weekends. it was awful and i was in a constant state of anxiety. no city agency would help, nor the epa.

i wish you all luck. the only reason that i made it through was because i had an old corner couch with large bolster pillows that i could stuff into the window casings and block out maybe 75% of the noise. however that didn't stop me from feeling my building (and bed) shudder with every impact.

try every media outlet that you can until they get enough bad press that the city or epa makes them stop.

Jill said...

I cannot make the video stop, and now at 8am I'm hearing it in double from outside, and I live a full block away. This is insane. What are they doing, drilling for oil?

EV Grieve said...

@Jill There's a mute button on the video.

Unfortunately, there is not a mute button on the construction site.

Anonymous said...

The applicant for this project is listed as pastor Carlos Torres, phone # 973-449-7880. Does he know about the noise?

Jill said...

Mute button doesn't work on my interwebs machine, and lately I'm having trouble comments too. Like this, I can't go back and add the word with. Steve Jobs died and all goes to hell.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you NIMBY haters will be interested in the following facts. Let me preface by saying that I live on the opposite corner to this new development and, yes, the sound SUCKS.

1) This project is actually an interesting partnership between a non-profit community focused church organization and a private developer. Elim Pentecostal, the Owner of the land since 1972, is partnering with the housing developer in a creative way to bring new housing and a church/community facility space back to the corner. Remember what was there less than 6 months ago? The shitty gutted shell of the Bijou theater that had absolutely no architectural, structural, community, or economic value left. This development is a boon to immediate neighborhood, ya dummies.

2)Most of Alphabet City East of Ave A is what we call "made land" meaning the top layers of soil here are imported fill. Below that are thick layers of old marsh that is absolutely impossible to build a new building on. The crazy pile driving that they are doing next door is so the that the foundations of the new building can be supported on something other than the organic muck that lies below. Its a necessary (and expensive) step in getting this AS-OF-RIGHT project built.

3)NO, I am not a shill, I just did my homework and asked around. By all means, call 311 to complain about the noise, I encourage it. Perhaps the DOB will put some more reasonable start time limits on the work. But please, for christ's sake, shut the f&(# up about the greedy developer, Gen Y, NYC is going to shit BULLSHIT. Its so stupid and off-base its offensive.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you mean the CONDO development you are building?

From NYU's EV Blog:
A 40-unit, seven-story condo will be built at 193 Avenue B, with the church returning to the ground floor and basement. Earlier today, the walls of the Bijou (later the Charles) Theater were being demolished brick by brick.

The Bijou was opened in 1926 by Charles Steiner, a “pioneer motion picture exhibitor” According to the book “Selling The Lower East Side,” the Charles (as it was renamed) showed underground and experimental movies in the 1950s (think Edward G. Ulmer) and then became a “favored site for the nascent hippie community” in the early ’60s

Nice try, developer troll. Your church decided to go condo. Don't act like it's a "really interesting" project- it's just another building owner with dollar signs in his eyes.