Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

At B15 site, noisy weekend construction; yes, the state disclosed it, but also fudged the issue, saying such work would be kept "to a minimum"

This is the third of ten articles on the 5/7/19 Quality of Life meeting. The first concerned the project schedule. The second concerned The Brodsky Organization's share of the B4 tower. The fourth concerned opacity in the Barclays Center calendars. The fifth concerned illegal parking during arena events. The sixth concerned traffic issues. The seventh concerned oversight. The eighth concerned the Community Liaison Office. The ninth concerned the developer's update. The tenth concerned the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation.
At the meeting, resident Robert Puca pointed to noisy construction at 664 Pacific Street (aka 37 Sixth Avenue, a site just east of Sixth between Pacific and Dean Street), the site of a 26-story building with a middle-school at the base. It's B15 on the project map.

"They're doing the piling, at 7 o'clock sharp, they start, it’s ridiculous, every building [on the block nearby] shakes," he said. "Now they've got permits to do it six days a week. Now they're doing it on Saturdays."

"We hear it as far as Bergen [Street] and St. Marks [Avenue], digging the pilings," another resident said. (The video below was shot yesterday.)

"There's got to be some sort of mitigation they could put up," Puca added.

"A lot of it is because of the school’s needs," commented Greenland USA's Scott Solish, apparently
because the school--as noted in the work permit--will have both a cellar and a sub-cellar.

(Update: I should have noted that a significant reason for building at that site in the first place was because the developer needed a staging area for simultaneous construction of the arena and four towers--a plan later abandoned as unrealistic.)

Puca asked if there could be some mitigation: "Do they have to start at 7? Could there be some netting going up?"

"We made sure there are sound blankets on fences," Solish said.

Bigger fences?

"The fences are like five feet high," Puca said.

"Eight feet high," countered Solish.

Remember, the state required 16-foot high fences for construction more than one block away down Dean Street. Those stuck out into the street and severely constricted traffic, as shown at left. If they were added to the Dean and Sixth intersection, they likely would cause major construction.

"The pilings are 30 feet high," Puca said, referring to the drilling equipment. Actually, taller, as the photo below shows. And, as the video above shows, they hardly dampen the sound.

Solish said it was up to the Department of Buildings.

Weekend work disclosed

So that let me back to the official project documents issued by Empire State Development Corporation, now Empire State Development, or ESD. It turned out that relatively frequent weekend work was disclosed, though it also was sometimes fudged.

From the Construction Impacts chapter of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement:
Weekend work would be required at times over the course of construction. Again, the numbers of workers and pieces of equipment in operation would be limited to those needed to complete the particular task at hand. For extended weekday and weekend work, the level of activity would be reduced from the normal workday. The typical weekend workday would be on a Saturday from 7 AM with worker arrival and site preparation to 5 PM for site cleanup. It is expected that weekend work may be required on one weekend day for approximately 50 percent of the weekends over the course of construction and, in exceptional circumstances, two weekend days would be required.
(Emphases added)

Weekend work "to a minimum"

Despite the statement that weekend work could be on a weekend day for about half the weekends, the Response to Comments chapter fudged the issue. After commenters warned that impacts "must be meaningfully mitigated or averted," the state responded:
The DEIS provided conservative estimates of construction activities for a potential reasonable worst-case impact analysis. While the project sponsors would keep nighttime and weekend work to a minimum, some work, such as transit improvements and LIRR Vanderbilt Yard construction, would be necessary to meet safety and operational needs. This work, however, is likely to occur at a lower frequency than what was described in the DEIS. While not likely to result in any new predicted significant adverse impacts, a delay in the construction schedule would further extend the duration of impacts identified on the surrounding neighborhood. As described in Chapter 17, “Construction Impacts,” of the DEIS and in response to comments, many elements were incorporated into the construction of the program (e.g., utilization of Block 1129) to reduce the effect of construction on the community.
It's by no means clear that weekend work at 664 Pacific is needed "to meet safety and operational needs," but rather schedule needs, to get the building done by 2022. The delay in the building, which was unveiled in December 2015, was a business decision by Greenland Forest City Partners, which has since sold the development rights to The Brodsky Organization.

Others commented regarding construction noise in nearby park space. The state responded:
As described in the Chapters 15 and 17, the proposed project would result in significant increases in noise levels at these parks during construction. In the case of the parks, there is no feasible mitigation that would fully eliminate these project impacts.... Even with the measures incorporated into the proposed project to reduce noises, it is not likely that the predicted significant adverse noise impacts from construction at any of these parks can be fully mitigated; however, with respect to the Dean Playground, the noise impact would be partially mitigated by the provision of an amenity [a comfort station] to the park users. 
2014 update

In the 2014 Final Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement, ordered to assess the impacts of a delayed buildout, the Construction Overview chapter suggested relatively infrequent weekend work:
Under the Extended Build-Out Scenario, weekend work would not be scheduled regularly, but may occur from time to time to make up for weather delays, unforeseen circumstances, or special activities such as erecting/dismantling tower cranes. In such cases, appropriate work permits from DOB would be obtained. Similar to an extended workday, the numbers of workers and pieces of equipment in operation would be limited to those needed to complete the particular task at hand. The duration of a typical weekend workday would be on a Saturday from approximately 7 AM to 5 PM. However, these hours could be extended to address special circumstances in limited instances
It's by no means clear that the weekend work at the B15 site is aimed to "make up for weather delays, unforeseen circumstances, or special activities such as erecting/dismantling tower cranes."

In the Response to Comments chapter, several commenters warned about the impacts of potential weekend work, especially given that the project could take 25 years of construction rather than the once projected ten years. The response:
As discussed in the DEIS some weekend and evening work will be necessary. This is similar to other construction projects in New York City. In general, the intensity of this weekend and evening work will be less than typical weekday daytime construction activities and impacts during these time periods would also be less than during typical daytime construction time periods. Also as noted in the DEIS, the New York City Noise Control Code, as amended December 2005 and effective July 1, 2007, requires the adoption and implementation of a noise mitigation plan for each construction site, and this would be done for the proposed project.
As shown in the video, the noise mitigation is, at best, only partial.


  1. Anonymous1:29 PM

    This is so disappointing, I just moved into 38 6th (I know, part of the problem but we needed a place to live) and our apartment overlooks the construction site. Even on a high floor, the noise is overwhelming, and I look forward to evenings and weekends just for the relief of silence. Knowing they can do work on Saturdays now too almost makes me regret moving here. I can't image being one of the people in the brownstones directly next door, I would imagine they can't even hear themselves think in their own homes.

  2. Anonymous10:23 AM

    As someone who does live in one of the brownstones directly next door, and works from home, it is a disaster.


Post a Comment