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Late Night Condo Construction Irks Residents, Restaurants on the UES

By Shaye Weaver | November 25, 2015 7:49am | Updated on November 26, 2015 3:36pm
 Suzette Jacobs is frustrated about the late-night work that has been going on at Citizen360's site.
Suzette Jacobs is frustrated about the late-night work that has been going on at Citizen360's site.
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Suzette Jacobs

YORKVILLE — Residents and businesses along First Avenue say they’ve had their fill of loud noise and bright lights coming from the new Citizen360 luxury condominium construction site at 360 E. 89th St.

Now they want relief.

Luca Marcato, the owner of the Cavatappo Grill across the street, said the lights from the site blind his customers even late at night. He now strategically places them at tables that don't get direct light and pulls down his awning to block the light.

"There's nothing I can do about it," he said Friday. "I put the customers against the wall or on the side. The people that suffer the most are the restaurants because customers have to physically come in, sit and endure the discomfort."

Noise and Light from Citizen360 Site
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Suzette Jacobs

Crews began construction this fall on the 34-story tower, which will have yoga and training studios, an entertainment suite, lounges and a multimedia studio. The company has yet to be denied for an after-hours permit, according to the city’s Department of Buildings records.

Contractors for Citizen360 developer Anbau had the DOB's permission to work overnight, allowing workers to do steel and plumbing work from 6 to 11 p.m. in addition to their regular construction hours.

First Avenue resident Richard McIntosh, who also gets the brunt of the bright lights and noise from the site, said he'd like to see the city change its rules on when after-hours permits are handed out.

"The company is complying with everything," he said. "The workers see an industrial project, which is in fact my neighborhood. We're both right. The building's got to get built, but there should be some rules that should reflect the wishes and desires of the neighbors."

The DOB did not comment on whether the city is considering changing its rules.

Resident Suzette Jacobs, who had already gone through the stress of construction noise during the summer from her apartment on First Avenue, said she’s upset by the DOB’s decision to give the company permits for late-night work, despite the impact on neighbors.

Jacobs, who records the noise and lights from the site as evidence, said the disruption has taken a toll on her peace of mind and she's had to keep out of half her 16th floor apartment that faces the street to avoid it.

“The noise starts at 7 a.m. and you know it stops at 6 p.m., so you can have dinner with your family, talk to your kid about homework and pace your day around it,” she said. “But when there are those days, those unannounced days when it doesn’t stop, it messes with you psychologically. You want them to play by the rules so you have some semblance of control over your own domicile."

But a spokesperson for Anbau said it’s hard to announce when construction will take place because of a variety of factors, like last-minute weather changes.

"We're in open dialogue with the community board and informed them of the schedule and we have names of three property managers that we've kept informed," Barbara van Beuren, a managing partner of Anbau said. "I know people are upset, but I think we have been pretty good communicators and we're trying to improve that as we get feedback. It's hard to post a day-by-day schedule. That's not how it works."

Anbau has also worked to shorten its construction time to reduce the impact on neighbors, van Beuren said. When it was demolishing the buildings on its site last summer, it shortened the schedule by two months, softened noise with sound barriers and measured it with vibration monitors.

Those same techniques are in place now that construction has begun, she said. She denied crews have been working late, saying they rarely work up to 11 p.m., despite the neighbors' allegations.

"The sound is no worse than a bus going by," she said. "The guys have to see, so there's not much we can do about [the lights]."

Once the tower is built above the majority of its neighboring buildings and it is enclosed, the noise will be significantly less, she said. Anbau plans to finish the tower in early 2017.