Saturday, July 13, 2013

After Times coverage of "City's Painful Din," commenters bring up the Barclays Center

A long, front-page New York Times article yesterday, Behind City’s Painful Din, Culprits High and Low, described the impacts of construction noise, helicopters, trains, motorcycles, and more on residents' peace and quiet.

The article (natch) didn't mention the Barclays Center, the construction of which was marked by after-hours construction and noisy equipment, and the operation of which includes noise leaking from bass-heavy concerts. But several commenters, including me, brought it up. And my comment even was a "NYT Pick."

Comments on the Barclays Center

Mike, NYC:
Residents near the Barclay's Center have been suffering for years. First there was the noise of tearing down homes that people had been forced out of using eminent domain. Up next, the construction of the world's ugliest and least wanted arena. Then, the crowds of folks from other neighborhoods pouring out of the place late at night after games and concerts. And, now, the construction of the first of many new gigantic buildings as part of the arena project has been going from 5:30am to 11pm daily.
The city essentially gave away the land for this project, kicked locals out of their homes, built something nobody nearby wanted, and is continuing to torture us with construction noise for all but 6 1/2 hours a day. If we sleep, then every waking hour is filled with noise. Shame on the city and the profiteers who have destroyed what was once a nice place to live.
Norman Oder, Brooklyn:
The Barclays Center has also been the source of noise leaking regularly from bass-heavy concerts, which has led to several notices of violation, only of which has so far been sustained, for the rather minuscule penalty of $3200.
The New York Times has barely mentioned this noise problem, and it has not reported on the penalty being paid.
At a recent community meeting, a Department of Environmental Protection official said, “I want to let the community know we're monitoring the Barclays Center... We’re trying to work collectively to come up with a solution that will satisfy not just the community but the Barclays Center and the agency.”
What exactly that was remained unspecified, since there were additional just before that meeting regarding the latest concert, Bruno Mars.
For more, see my blog:
Noise reports--from concerts, construction, and more--at Atlantic Yards Watch:
bencharif, Staten Island, NY:
Well of course one can escape the din, have a garden, and be awakened by birds and still live in one of the five boroughs. The borough I refer to is the least populated and least chic of the bunch --- a combination ensuring that, even here, only a short walk to the Staten Island Ferry, one can look out the window and see the sky.
True, I can't get a latte at 2 a.m. or find Cahiers du Cinema on my local newsstand, but I have no regrets about exchanging an old house in Fort Greene for an old house in St. George, especially when I return to attend summer events with old friends and find The New Manhattan all around me in places that used to be called, generically, downtown Brooklyn.

The nonstop cacophony around the odious Barclays Center is an example of what the future bodes for neighborhoods considered desirable by investment bankers, hipsters and the creative class. What developer, retailer or promoter can resist those compelling downtown Brooklyn demographics?
Sandy Reiburn, Brooklyn, NY: 
The noise assaults on quality of life & health go well beyond those addressed in this important article.
In this Bloombergian city where the right to make money trumps neighborly consideration & impotent laws...unending street fairs with amplified...raging decibel levels...booths with blasting music & carny beckoning ad nauseum...subjects residents & passersby to attacks on their hearing & their health.
Even as the DOT schemes for pedestrian plazas (in the NYCEDC quest to "develop" & "better" neighborhoods often at the expense of residential sentiment but ALWAYS supported by real estate developers!) one finds the Business Improvement District "BIDs" imposing musical "events" amplified & ready to invade adjacent residents' homes & apartments...i.e. FAB Allliance in Ft Greene, for one...with little recourse.
Told to call 311 about noise issues insults the intelligence...ask anyone living within the Barclays Center blocks who've been forced to put up with Ratner's NYC govt. "blessed" shoddy noise insulation while concerts invade their sleep ...the penalties are few if non-existent.
Finally...the white noise machines...the ear plugs...are all well and good...however, there is now a generation of deafened New Yorkers... harmed by loud music ear buds who've irreparably damaged their hearing. They require more amplification because they cannot hear properly...they aren't cognizant of ambient noise...the rest of us just suffer.
The boom in after-hours variances

David, New York City:
I would like to point out that applications for AHVs [after-hours variances] have increased from just 59,128 filed in 2007 to 128,605 more recently. With so many more projects seeking permission to work outside of normal work hours, it is critical that DOB/DOT ensure that projects are granted AHVs only when mandated under existing code.
Under NYC Code 24-223, AHVs may only be issued in cases of emergency, public safety and City construction projects, with minimal noise impact. However, it is my understanding that the AHV application form neither lists the requirements for an AHV nor contains sections for the applicant to prove that it has met them. Further we understand that renewals of such AHV are self-certified.
Similarly, DOB does not require developers to prove undue financial hardship (which is often cited in AHV applications), which may explain why some of the most expensive apartments in the City are being constructed with AHVs during late-night, early morning and weekend work for years.
The Code establishes criteria for issuing AHVs which ensure that developers work after-hours only when necessary or when the work will not impact the surrounding community, but DOB appears unwilling to hold developers to these requirements.
I could go on and on, but space and character limitations do not permit.
David M. Pincus
Co-Chair, Quality of Life Committee
Manhattan Community Board 4

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