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Petition Demands 'Obnoxious' LES Adult Kickball League Be Booted

 A kickball tournament brings screaming adults and loud generators to P.S 142, nearby residents say.
Lower East Side Kickball
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LOWER EAST SIDE — When Karen Gehres bought an apartment across from P.S. 142 five years ago, she knew she would hear the sounds of children at play — but she did not anticipate the racket of screaming adults.

Gehres has started a petition against the adult kickball league that uses the school's courts at Delancey and Attorney streets most weeknights and every Saturday. The noise of the players, as well as the buzz and bright lights from generators of the Notwork Network Society and NYC Social Sports Club's games, is stifling summer evenings, according to Gehres and other residents.

"I have lived in the neighborhood when there were gangs running around, heroin, but this is one of the most annoying, obnoxious things,” said Gehres, a Lower East Side resident for more than 30 years.

"It is a very frat-house behavior. I don't want to insult children and say it is childish — these are adults screaming, trying to relive their youth or something."

The kickball league hosts games every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night from 6:15-9:15 p.m., as well as on Saturdays from 2-4 p.m., according to the website. There are two generators on the school’s courts, including one in front of Gehres' Attorney Street building, that flood light onto the play area while the games are in session.

The league also operates at M.S. 25 on Rivington and Suffolk streets, before competitors from both location move to the Libation bar on Ludlow Street for after-game drinks, according to the Notwork Network website.

"First, it started off two or three years ago with a few grown-ups playing," explained Gehres' husband Phil Penman, 35. "Then, slowly it became stadium lighting, adults screaming their heads off, and it got later and later. Sometimes they play until 10 or 11 at night."

Since launching the petition four weeks ago, Gehres said she has gained signatures from every apartment in her building that faces P.S. 142, totaling about 40. Gehres is also vying for support from Community Board 3, to which she will present the issue at a committee meeting Thursday.

"This goes on from the minute the weather is nice — you can't open your windows or hear yourself think in your own apartment," she added.

Gehres noted that she has reached out to P.S. 142, the Notwork Network Society and the NYC Social Sports Club, but there has been no change in the games.

Notwork Network said it keeps a decibel reader on site at events to monitor sound, putting its generator noise levels between that of a normal conversation and a lawnmower when measured between 10 to 25 feet away.

"Notwork Network takes efforts to keep things at a reasonable noise level during our events and we are careful to always end our activities by 10 p.m.," read a statement from the company, inviting nearby residents with problems to contact them.

"We encourage good sportsmanship and fair play among our members, and we hold the organization as a whole to those same standards."

Gehres is hoping the petition will prompt the group to move the games away from residential areas to another location, possibly East River Park.

"I didn't save for that long for somewhere I can't even open up the windows," she said.