Saturday, April 18, 2015, this snippet is from mid-afternoon, but they started at 8am.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
It 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.
We are delighted that Community Board 2 voted on Thursday, June 20th to call on the Board of Standards and Appeals to reduce the mass of the building proposed for 72-80 Sullivan (aka 140 Sixth Avenue).
The bulk of that reduction should come from the proposed 18-story residential tower, lowered to a more appropriate 10 or 11 stories. The developer’s proposal was based on the inappropriate assumption that the mass allowed at this site for commercial uses (a 5.00 FAR*) would be permitted, rather than the 3.44 FAR that is standard for residential development in the South Village.
The Community Board also recommended: (1) the relocation of the proposed retail store entrance to the Sixth Avenue side of the development in a effort to preserve the residential character of the south end of Sullivan Street, and (2) the giveback to the neighborhood of some public garden space on the Sixth Avenue side of the development. The Board, along with the neighborhood, strongly endorsed the developer’s request to have the site rezoned for residential rather than hotel development.
None of this would have happened without the great turn out at the Land Use Committee and full board meetings, so many thanks to the neighbors who stood up and spoke out! Although this a great win for our neighborhood, the Community Board’s recommendations are by no means binding, so the the next step on the 72-80 Sullivan/140 Sixth development will be a hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals. So far that hearing is not scheduled, but we’ll keep you posted!
* What is FAR? FAR is the Floor Area Ratio: The floor area ratio is the principal bulk regulation controlling the size of buildings. FAR is the ratio of total building floor area to the area of its zoning lot. Each zoning district has an FAR which, when multiplied by the lot area of the zoning lot, produces the maximum amount of floor area allowable on that zoning lot. For example, on a 10,000 square foot zoning lot in a district with a maximum FAR of 1.0, the floor area on the zoning lot cannot exceed 10,000 square feet. (from the New York City Department of Buildings Zoning Glossary).
An 18-story tower, retail space, and a parking garage have been proposed for the quiet Sullivan Street block between Broome and Spring. An application for a zoning variance has been filed for this location. The developer has long planned to build a hotel tower on this site, which the zoning for the site allows. He is now seeking a zoning variance to allow the development to be residential, which the zoning for this site currently does not allow. You can read more about the application by downloading the variance documents HERE.
An 18-story tower at this site is not appropriate, whatever the use. The tower will cast additional shadows on Vesuvio Playground and SoHo Square. The site is located within the South Village Historic District that has been proposed since 2006 (and which the City has still not agreed to move on). And nearly all the sites in the surrounding neighborhood which are zoned for residential development only allow new development at a much more limited scale – about 31% smaller than the proposed development.
- be at the size and density which is allowed for residential development in the surrounding area
- keep any tower developed on the south portion of the lot, where the tower will be somewhat less intrusive (as is proposed, but not required, in the variance plan)
- allocate 20% of the units as affordable middle-income housing, and,
- include a public-use space (either a meeting space in the retail facility, or a public outdoor space).
WHAT YOU CAN DO
ATTEND the Community Board #2 Land Use Committee public hearing on the variance on Wednesday, June 12 at the Little Red Schoolhouse Auditorium, 272 Sixth Avenue (Bleecker Street) and urge the Community Board to only approve a variance for residential use if the size of the development is consistent with what the residential zoning for the surrounding neighborhood allows and if the developer provides appropriate contributions to the life of the neighborhood in the form of affordable housing and/or community space. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm, and this is the 3rd and final item on the agenda.
WRITE to the Community Board at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your concerns and comments (please copy email@example.com).
PRINT AND POST this flyer in your building to keep your offline neighbors informed.
It’s been a noisy week for those of us who live near the Quinlan-Tavros demolition site at 178-180 Sixth Avenue where a Sleepy’s Mattress Store once stood. As it turns out, it’s been noisier than it ought to be: DiSano Demolition (ph: 718-961-3700) — the company hired by QT to demolish the Sleepy’s building — is not in compliance with New York City’s noise mitigation regulations for construction sites. They are required to:
• muffle their jackhammer and other equipment,
• post a noise mitigation plan, and
• comply with their noise mitigation plan.
They have done exactly none of the above. This is consistent with QT’s and God’s Love We Deliver’s complete disregard for the health and well-being of their neighbors. The noise regulation rules are only enforced if there are complaints registered. So if you live nearby and are suffering with the sound of jackhammering for hours on end, please complain about the noise – loudly and often.
The DiSano jackhammer-crane has been generating noise peaking at 115 decibels in our apartment — more than 150 feet from the demolition site and behind sealed double-paned windows. For folks closer – on the ground floors, for example – the din was much worse. This is a health issue for our neighborhood: noise at this level is damaging to your hearing and is linked to cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension.
It’s worth noting that NYU is being required by the City to provide sound proofing windows and special sound reducing air conditioners to Washington Square Village and Silver Tower apartments, as reported in The Villager this week. No such plan has been required of GLWD or QT, except for a few air conditioners for our neighbors at 188 Sixth Avenue.
HOW TO REGISTER CONSTRUCTION NOISE COMPLAINTS
1) BY PHONE: Call 311 and say that you want to make a construction noise complaint to a Department of Environmental Protection operator. They should connect you to a specialist. Complain about the noise level, complain about the lack of a noise mitigation plan, and complain that no noise mitigation plan is posted.
If you have a decibel meter in your smart phone, please report the decibel readings you are getting and your approximate distance from the jackhammer/crane. (There are more than 70 free or inexpensive decibel meter apps available for the iPhone, for example. I imagine many are also available for the Android and other smart phones.)
2) ONLINE: Go to the 311 Online page and complete the relevant information. [Please note this is a new link, updated 10/4/13: you now have to go to a link that says “Make a Complaint” and then choose from a drop-down menu. If you want to make a complaint for after hours construction and a complaint for noise, you will need to file two separate complaints.]
3) POST your Complaint Number on the Google Group if you are a subscriber to the Google Group.
4) CALL Speaker Christine Quinn’s office (212-564-7757) and tell her team what her $8 million dollar contribution of taxpayer funds to GLWD – her contribution of our tax funds – is doing to your quality of life. Let her know how you feel about this in light of her current campaign to occupy the Mayor’s office.
A neighborhood culinary treasure, Joe’s Dairy, closed up shop this past Saturday on Sullivan Street. Longtime creators and purveyor’s of the most delicious homemade, smoked mozzarella, and other delicacies, the closing of Joe’s is a cheese-lover’s catastrophe. Who can forget the first time they smelled that delicious smoked mozzarella, smoked right there, in the basement of their storefront? The dairy’s owners were rumored to have grown tired of the neighborhood’s new bustle and clatter, finding it no longer livable after 40 years here. We wonder, also, whether Jared Kushner’s recent purchase of the 156 Sullivan Street building had anything to do with the dairy’s decision to pack up and move on.
Before Joe’s closed up, we watched other changes: When we moved to the South Village in the early 1990s, there were two bakeries – Vesuvio’s on Prince, and Zito’s just above Bleecker. All of this deliciousness was nearby. And sometime in the mid-1990s, Sullivan Street Bakery opened just to the south of Spring. But now all the bread bakers have retired, passed away, or decamped, and our neighborhood is left with sweets – products with higher profit margins and slightly longer shelf lives. Don’t get us wrong: we love the new Dominque Ansel Patisserie on Spring. Check out their croissants. And Birdbath Bakery – that moved into the famous bright green Vesuvios’s storefront – makes a mean chocolate cookie.
But the bread bakers aren’t the only ones who have disappeared. The corner grocery store on Sullivan and Spring gave way to another nail salon the end of the 90s. (And, seriously folks, how many mani-pedi’s does a neighborhood need?) The green grocer on Thompson was converted into a high-end retail shop around the same time. And not long ago Porto Rican Coffee closed its doors on Thompson after 30 years on the block. This is the micro-catastrophe of hyper-gentrification: when the affordances that made a neighborhood a pleasure to live in can no longer afford to remain.
We have a Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation that does excellent work advocating to landmark the built environment. (And we hope they’ll succeed in lobbying the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark our section of the South Village soon!) But what we sorely need is some other sort of mechanism to preserve the more fragile fabric of our neighborhoods: ensuring that our grocers, bakeries, butcher shop, coffee shops, and even vanishing laundromats can survive the pressures of overdevelopment. In the meantime, be sure to shop local: H & H Kim and M & O Grocery are among our last neighborhood corner stores.
Goodbye to Joe’s Dairy. We’ll all miss you. Another great one is gone.