Author Archives: southvillageneighbors

God’s Love Continues to Deliver Its Specialty: Weekend Noise, Dust, and Disruption

Saturday, April 18, 2015, this snippet is from mid-afternoon, but they started at 8am.

God’s Love Continues to Deliver Its Specialty: Weekend Noise, Dust, and Disruption from South Village Neighbors on Vimeo.

Liquor Licenses Reach Saturation Point on Sullivan Street: Noise, Smoke, and Traffic Alert

street scene at MacDougal & 3rd Street showing many bars and loungesNo offense intended to our neighbors on MacDougal between Third and Bleecker, but we might want to avoid having multiple streets that are crowded with bars, pubs, clubs, and lounges.

liquor licenses in the south village, a map with legend

If you’re concerned that Sullivan Street between Prince and Houston is on the way to becoming the next MacDougal and Third, please take note:

Community Board 2’s State Liquor Authority Committee will meet on Tuesday, April 7th at 6:30pm at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 151-155 Sullivan Street, Lower Hall to hear applications for four wine and beer licenses:

• 135, LLC d/b/a Once Upon a Tart, 135 Sullivan St. North and South Stores 10012
• 135 Tart, LLC, d/b/a Once Upon a Tart, 135 Sullivan St. North Side 10012
• An Entity to be Formed by Daniel La Vain, 144 Sullivan St. 10012
• 13 Sullivan Gents LLC, d/b/a 142 Sullivan, 142 Sullivan St. 10012

If approved, this would mean four new liquor licenses in the middle of Sullivan between Prince and Houston. That’s a lot of noise and traffic on a quiet residential block. Residents are already suffering from carousing customers many nights, courtesy — or rather discourtesy — of Navy at 137 Sullivan.

Right now Sullivan Street has enough bars and restaurants to easily meet the needs of our neighborhood and the surrounding area. We don’t need more liquor licenses.

Show up, speak up, and let your CB2 representatives hear from you about the peace and quiet you value on your block.

Click on the map to see a Google map charting liquor licenses in our neighborhood.

Yet Again Another Construction Site in Our Neighborhood: 233 Spring aka 20-24 Vandam

If you heard a lot of construction noise this morning as we did, it was coming from yet another construction site in our neighborhood: 233-245 Spring Street, aka 20-24 Vandam, where an enormous crane (the full length of the block) was being installed. According to the Department of Buildings’ website, the crane is 409 feet long (35-40 stories tall). Their current crane permit runs through June 11, 2015, so this yellow tower and will be a fixture on Vandam for at least a year.

409 foot long crane installed on Vandam Street (June 22, 2014)

409 foot long crane installed on Vandam Street
(June 22, 2014)

This site is owned by Laurence Gluck’s Stellar Management, which plans to merge the 233 Spring Street building, home to the Aveda Institute, with 161 Sixth Avenue, and with two small neighboring parcels that a 24-foot by 100-foot vacant lot with 25,000 square feet of development rights. The new building is slated to be 18-stories tall.

Our neighbors on Vandam and Charlton Streets, and at 188-192 Sixth Avenue, will be most severely impacted by this site, but the noise radiates over to Sullivan Street and to 160 Sixth as well.

What you can do: If you have complaints to make about noise, after hours variances or unsafe working working conditions at this site, here’s some helpful information:

  • The page on the Department of Buildings website with information about permits for his site is here.
  • The link to check if they have after hours variance permits is here.
  • The location to note in 311 complaints is 233-245 Spring  Street or 20-24 Vandam Street.

If you do make complaints to 311 or Community Board 2, be sure to record them on the SVN noise complaint registry so we can have a record should we need to follow-up with the Department of Buildings or the Department of Environmental Protection.

We owe this latest addition to the on-going disruption of our once quiet neighborhood to former Mayor Bloomberg and his yes-to-all-luxury-development City Council, who approved the Hudson Square rezoning last year without provide Historic District protections for our neighborhood. The Hudson Square rezoning allows residential buildings up to 290 feet on wide streets, and between 185 and 230 feet on side streets, depending upon the site, and on whether or not affordable housing is included.

The South Village Historic District

The fight to have the triangle below Houston—bordered by West Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and Canal Street—included in the South Village Historic District continues. According to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the current Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair has refused to consider the third and final phase of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District in spite of a promise to do so in 2008. And while the GVSHP’s proposal to rezone the South Village to put in place height limits and eliminate the zoning bonus for construction of dorms and other university facilities has enjoyed strong support from Community Board #2, the City has thus not moved ahead.

What you can do: Write to Mayor de Blasio and urge him to support expanded landmarks protections and rezoning of the entire South Village right away. Here’s a sample letter from our friends at GVSHP. Tell the Mayor what out-of-scale development is doing to your neighborhood.

God’s Love We Deliver Contractor Files Fraudulent Documents to Gain Weekend Permits

South Village Neighbors received a copy of the following email and videos from neighbors on Sullivan Street, and we are sharing them with our community. The letter and screenshot reveal the fraudulent representations that JRM Construction has made to the Department of Buildings in order to secure after-hours work permits that allow them to disrupt the neighborhood even on Saturdays. The videos demonstrate the unmitigated construction noise they inflict on the neighborhood six days a week.

God's Love AHV fraud noted

Double-click to enlarge

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dear Ms. Pearl and Trustees of Gods Love We Deliver,

Your contractor at 166 Avenue of the Americas has committed fraud in order to obtain after-hours variances. Several lies on their application are:

1. That the work is not within 200 feet of a residence,
2. That the work is within an enclosed building,
3. That the work does not involve partial demolition, and,
4. That the reason for needing the permit is “public safety”.

You may refer to the publicly-accessible information here in case you are thinking of disputing it. Or you can view the annotated image of your contractor’s application for after hours work permits, which includes corrected answers for your reference.

Today, a Saturday, your contractor is jack-hammering, using chain saws, and using gas-powered concrete saws, and hammering. All of these activities are very loud, especially the large, bobcat-mounted jackhammer. It is loud enough that it alerted me to the also-fraudulent Noise Mitigation Plan posted by your contractor. This type of contractor is not appropriate for situations requiring code compliance and respect of the rights of others. This is not the first instance, and I am beginning to wonder why this type of infraction has been written off by City inspectors at your site in the past, and why your contractor is still allowed to obtain after-hours variances.

I recommend you cause this infuriating behavior to stop voluntarily, immediately.

Lest you doubt the validity of these claims, here are a pair of videos taken this morning at 10am from an adjacent residential building of “the quiet delivery of material and debris clean up” your contractor claims to be doing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 10:15am Bobcat-mounted jackhammer Saturday, April 12, 2014, 11:10am Other non-approved, non-enclosed aferhours work

Your website does not offer a clear contact person to whom one may present the above information, so I have addressed my email to any likely candidate. Please feel free to respond, but anything short of stopping the illegal behavior on your property will be irrelevant, and ignored. There are no excuses, so stow any you might craft.

A Sullivan Street Neighbor

God’s Love We Deliver Unsafe Working Conditions

In addition to delivering a luxury condo construction site to our formerly quiet neighborhood, God’s Love We Deliver is now in the business of delivering unsafe working conditions. At about 1:00 Thursday afternoon, there was an accident at the God’s Love We Deliver site, and a worker was removed on a stretcher. We don’t know if there is a stop work order, but these images suggest that there ought to be. The Spring Street subway entrance is completely exposed to heavy demolition work on the roof of the former God’s Love We Deliver building. This work includes the jackhammering demolition of brick walls. There is no scaffolding or protection for straphangers entering or exiting the station, or for the local food cart vendor.


UPDATE: Saturday, December 28, 2013

A partial stop work order has been issued for the dangerous construction site owned by God’s Love We Deliver, Inc.  The stop work order notes the failure of contractor to follow approved plans and scaffold the entrance to the subway, which creates a safety issue for pedestrians on Spring Street, especially for those entering and exiting the subway. (Click images to enlarge.)



News Wrap-Up 2013

NY_Times_Glass_and_Steelffbffdfd9184aa73638d62a3Our fight against the GLWD-QT development at 180 Sixth Avenue has been much in the news in the past year.  The New York Times covered our challenge as early as May, with a report on the fight by journalist Ronda Kaysen (5/7/13). Not long after that, in mid-July, the Times reported on the development assaults to our neighborhood in a report by John Freeman Gill (8/13/13).  And even the Times’ Real Estate section (10/20/13) — never known to frown on new luxury development — characterized the QT project as an “invasion”.  Starting in January and throughout the year, we’ve had excellent coverage from The Villager.  And, of course, the dangerous conditions at the building site were widely covered in late September, when 188 Sixth Avenue had to be evacuated due to hazardous conditions created by QT’s excavation work. We expect our legal challenge to be much in the news in 2014. Stay tuned.

News Coverage of 188 Sixth Avenue Evacuation

ABC News was one of the first on the scene yesterday, when residents of 188 Sixth Avenue were evacuated after construction work next door on the Quinlan-Tavros luxury condominium development caused their building to shift. Within the hour reporters from all the network news channels and multiple radio and print venues were on hand.

Wall Street Journal
New York Daily News
CBS News
Epoch Times
1010 Wins Gary Baumbarten

IMG_0192 188 Sixth

CBS News Interviews Assemblymember Deborah Glick, our only elected official on site last night at the 188 Sixth Building evacuation.

FDNY Evacuates 17 Neighbors at 188 Sixth Avenue as DOB Assesses Impact of Quinlan-Tavros Foundation Work on Structural Integrity Next Door

policelineThis afternoon at around 3:30, the NYC Fire Department evacuated 17 neighbors living at 188 Sixth Avenue when foundation work next door at 180 Sixth Avenue caused shifting in their 19th-century tenement-style building. The NYPD cordoned off the sidewalks as Con Edison emergency vehicles arrived to check the gas lines when the building moved consequent to hazardous foundation work being done on the adjacent lot, owned by Quinlan-Tavros. The affected building at 188 Sixth sits on the lot line with the Quinlan-Tavros luxury condominium construction site. The A, C, and E subway lines, which run along the site were affected, as trains were told to slow down to reduce vibrations.

The neighbors at 188 Sixth reported that on Tuesday one tenant arrived home and couldn’t open her front door because the doorframe had shifted significantly. She called a locksmith who came and helped her get the door open. She also reported the problem to Triton Construction, the company doing the foundation work at the 180 Sixth Avenue site, who, she reports, told her not to worry. Triton has been been underpinning the foundation of the weight bearing south wall at 188 Sixth, which caused the shift in the building. The next day, as they observed additional cracking in their walls, the tenants at 188 Sixth called 311.

IMG_0148 - 188 Sixth Avenue Excavation

A Department of Buildings inspector visited the site and issued a stop work order.  By mid-afternoon the FDNY was called to evacuate the residents, who then waited anxiously for 5 hours as news crews arrived to report on the situation. The Red Cross was also called in to make sure that the displaced residents would be sheltered in the event the building remained uninhabitable. Around 7pm Assembymember Deborah Glick arrived at the site to ensure that her displaced constituents could get back into the building to retrieve pets, medications, and other vital items. Incumbent City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the district, said through her spokeswoman Allie Nudelman that they were “monitoring the situation.”

Ultimately, around 8:15 residents were allowed to return to their homes. DOB Inspector and structural engineer Timothy Lynch announced to a dozen news reporters that the building was safe enough to go back into service. When asked about the shifting in the building that had been severe enough to completely jam one apartment door, Inspector Lynch observed only that he had been able to open all the doors in the building that he had gone through, without directly addressing the structural shift that resulted in the tenant’s jammed door. img_0214-stop-work-orderaLynch continued, noting that the building dates back to approximately 1890, that it’s an old masonry building, and that it it is “ductile.”  And for those of you who, like me, may not have “ductile” in your everyday vocabulary, it means “a solid material’s ability to deform under tensile stress.”  In other words, the building is moving under the strain of the underpinning and mechanical excavation. A partial stop-work order remains in effect.

While we are relieved that our neighbors are back in their homes tonight, we are very concerned about the ongoing stability of 188 Sixth Avenue, and overall safety on the site. Since the earliest public hearings on this proposed development — as far back as November of last year — neighbors have testified regarding their concerns about the safety of the homes at 188 Sixth Avenue.  The neighborhood remains deeply concerned.

Quinlan-Tavros Tears Down Trees to Develop “Green” Building

180vandam_8_13-thumbIt fell to Curbed to break the news of what, exactly, Quinlan-Tavros has in store for 180 Sixth Avenue. They’re going to start by changing the address to “One Vandam.” Much tonier than 180 Sixth, don’t you think?  And then, this architectural monstrosity — reminiscent of the Borg spacecraft from the Star Trek series — will descend on our peaceful South Village neighborhood. Notice that the building towers over everything in sight. That’s exactly what they have in mind: building an out-of-scale, heedless-to-context nightmare that maximizes their height and square footage at the expense of everything and everyone in their way.

That’s why it’s so utterly irksome to so see the sign outside the construction site, where they’ve just torn down one of the oldest trees on the block. The finer print reads: “New York City has a variety of projects, both public and private, which when completed will improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”  Really?  All New Yorkers?  Tell that to the neighbors who’ve recently had the trees that shade their windows chopped down, the back walls of their gardens knocked over, the air quality in their neighborhood obliterated by dust and diesel fumes, and their homes subjected to the din of demolition and construction from dawn until dusk. But the architects of record, BKSK Architects, claim that “One Vandam” will be LEED-certified — a so-called “green building” — so that makes it all okay?  Not really. Not at all. The only sort of green Quinlan-Tavros is concerned about comes off of U.S. Treasury presses. We’re not talking green, we’re talking greed.