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Partying at Gramercy Park Hotel Driving Neighbors Crazy

By Mary Johnson | February 22, 2012 7:51am
One of the more recent live musical performances at the Gramercy Park Hotel was a Guns N Roses show, featuring Axl Rose.
One of the more recent live musical performances at the Gramercy Park Hotel was a Guns N Roses show, featuring Axl Rose.
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GRAMERCY — Over the past six months, the Gramercy Park Hotel has become known in the neighborhood for more than just its celeb guests and fancy parties.

Residents say its gilded soirees are causing quite a ruckus and bringing unwanted and excessive noise to their tony, typically subdued neighborhood.

Tenants in the surrounding buildings have complained to hotel management, to Community Board 6 and to the city's information hotline 311.

And, on Tuesday night, several of them attended a meeting of the 13th police precinct community council to air their grievances and ask for help about what they can do to win a war over decibel levels.

"We went over on a Monday evening, and it was blaring," Robin Brenner,  a 25-year resident of a neighboring building, said in an interview after the meeting.

Brenner said she called 311 from the lobby of the hotel that night — one of dozens of calls she has placed in the past six months — and the operator couldn’t hear her speak because of the racket.

Even in her apartment, which she said is not directly against the wall of the hotel, the thumping that resonates some nights spooks her dog and disrupts her sleep.

"It’s incredibly loud," said another area resident, who declined to give her name. "When I’m in my home, I don’t think I should be subjected to that."

"We’re not saying stop," she added. "Just turn the bass down."

The Gramercy Park Hotel is owned by real estate powerhouse Aby Rosen, of RFR Holdings, who reportedly bought out his partner, Ian Schrager, in late 2010.

In addition to its meticulously decorated rooms, the hotel is also home to Maialino, a Danny Meyer restaurant and neighborhood favorite; two exclusive bars, the Rose Bar and Jade Bar; and a roof-top lounge.

Fashion week after-parties are held there, as are intimate live musical performances, which residents say have become increasingly loud and unruly.

Cigarette butts litter the ground in front of the hotel, they claim, and people spilling out of the club late at night holler in the streets.

Police confirmed that they had received an influx of complaint calls about the hotel and spoke to residents in a separate tête-a-tête after the meeting on Tuesday.

The discussion wasn’t public, but residents said afterward that police officers had offered to come into their apartments and test noise levels to see if the hotel was in violation of the city’s noise ordinance, which limits how loud both the music and the bass levels emanating from commercial establishments can be. 

Police also said they would do what they could to foster negotiations since communication between the hotel’s management and the residents seems to be at a standstill.

"We have to find a way to live together," said Jules Jaffe, a writer who lives near the hotel and says she has felt her apartment rattled by deep bass rhythms.

On Tuesday night, Jaffe stopped by the hotel and was pleased to find a tame two-person jazz performance going on.

"They keep saying they want to be good stewards," noted Jaffe, who said she has resorted to plugging her ears some nights to muffle the sound. "Then shut up."

In an email, the hotel’s general manager, Elizabeth Mao, confirmed that the establishment does function as both a hotel and a music venue but said that management recognizes the hotel’s location in a primarily residential neighborhood.

"In fact, we have taken significant steps to monitor the volume during every band’s sound check and live performance," she wrote.

Mao explained that the hotel has conducted several rounds of sound testing to ensure that it stays in compliance with the city’s noise ordinance.

"It has been concluded by both our decibel tests (within our lobby, on the sidewalks surrounding the hotel, and in the lobby of our neighbor building) and by the NYPD that these complaints are unfounded," Mao added.

"We are continually in compliance."