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Round-the-Clock WTC Work Disturbs Downtown Residents

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Pounding jackhammers at the World Trade Center site are infuriating residents of a luxury rental building nearby.

Residents of 90 West St., where one-bedrooms rent for $2,550 to $3,200 a month, say the noisy work starts before dawn and often continues well into the night, making it difficult for them to relax, let alone sleep.

"It's a huge nuisance," said Nick Oram, 31, who moved to 90 West St. eight months ago. "I haven't had a good night's sleep in almost a year."

Oram lives on the fourth floor of 90 West St., overlooking the muddy pit where workers are breaking apart rocks to make way for the Vehicle Security Center, an underground parking garage to serve the World Trade Center's new office skyscrapers.

Staff at the Port Authority say they have no choice but to work round-the-clock to get the project done.

"Because of the delays we have experienced at [the Deutsche Bank building], the result is that we're working longer hours than we initially anticipated," said Glenn Guzi, a program director for the Port Authority, at a recent Community Board 1 meeting.

"We do know there are impacts to the overall community," Guzi continued. "We will continue to work with the residents."

However, the Port Authority plans to continue working up to 19 hours a day, seven days a week, to get the project done by the end of 2013, Guzi said.

Port officials have said they cannot risk the project falling behind, because it must be ready to support the opening of One World Trade Center and developer Larry Silverstein's Tower 4.

Peter Levenson, principal at the Kibel Companies, which owns 90 West St., called the noise "unacceptable" and said he has heard many complaints from residents.

"It's been extremely frustrating," Levenson said of the near-constant pounding. "It annoys a lot of people."

While the Port Authority regularly meets with Levenson to discuss the work and has installed sound-dampening materials, Levenson said the agency is unwilling to do the one thing that would solve the problem — cut back the work hours.

Since the World Trade Center site is owned by the state, the Port Authority does not have to comply with city rules that curtail work hours and construction noise.

A 33-year-old resident of 90 West St., who did not give her name, said the noise is so constant that even her two young children have grown accustomed to sleeping through it.

"You sort of just put up with it," she said.