'Loud' FreshDirect Truck Draws Noise Complaints in TriBeCa

By Julie Shapiro on June 6, 2012 7:05am 

Outside the FreshDirect truck on Thomas Street, workers often hang out on handcarts in between deliveries, locals said.
Outside the FreshDirect truck on Thomas Street, workers often hang out on handcarts in between deliveries, locals said.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

TRIBECA — FreshDirect has worn out its welcome on one TriBeCa block, locals said. 

The grocery-delivery company has parked its truck on narrow Thomas Street nearly every day for more than a month, arriving early in the morning and staying late into the evening, local residents and workers said.

In addition to breaking parking rules on the block, which police said limit the truck to a 30-minute stay, the vehicle also makes a lot of racket, from the idling motor to the shouts of staff unloading boxes of groceries or waiting around in between deliveries, nearby workers said.

"They're always out there, making noise," said Chris Degaeta, assistant administrator at CytexOne, a technology company at 50 Hudson St. whose windows overlook Thomas Street and the truck.

"They make a loud 'Bing!' noise every time they scan something," Degaeta continued. "The other day I was pulling my hair out. They should be in a garage or a warehouse somewhere."

FreshDirect's corporate office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The truck uses the block as a home base to make deliveries to area residents and businesses.

After hearing concerns from his commercial tenants, the landlord of 50 Hudson St. brought the noise complaints to the First Precinct Community Council last week, begging police to crack down on the alleged clamor created by the truck.

"It's every day," said the landlord, who declined to give his name. "They plan to stay there for the rest of time."

First Precinct Capt. Nicole Papamichael said the truck's spot at Thomas and Hudson streets is reserved for trucks loading and unloading, but that it can only stay in place for a maximum of 30 minutes.

To write a ticket or issue a summons, police officers must observe the truck and then return 30 minutes later to check that it's still there, Papamichael said at last week's meeting. The precinct will look into the issue, she noted.

But the truck was still in its usual spot this week, and local residents and workers said they hadn't noticed any changes.

Carol Adams, owner of the Torly Kid children's boutique on Hudson Street across from the FreshDirect truck, said workers from the company often hang out on the steps of her shop when she arrives in the morning, before they get to work.

"It doesn't impact me," Adams said, "but I did think it was odd that they were parked there all of a sudden."

On Tuesday afternoon, a FreshDirect worker who was pushing a handcart piled high with groceries said he parked the truck on Thomas Street because that's what he was instructed to do.

"They just tell me to come here, and that's what I do," said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to talk to the press.

As for the noise complaints, the worker called them "absurd," adding that the truck is no louder than the surrounding street noise.

"We're not disturbing nothing," the worker said. "Times is so hard. Would they rather I sell drugs or rob somebody?"

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