Letters to the editor

Law sounds better than it is

To The Editor

It’s good that you described the Bloomberg administration’s new noise code in such detail (news article, Dec. 23 – 29, “Gerson backs new noise code after last-minute changes”), but your story did not explain what a slap in the face the code is to those of us who live near buildings with multiple air conditioners. Neighbors Against N.O.I.S.E. are especially concerned with the telecom hotel at 60 Hudson St., where the air conditioners that 65 tenants use to keep their telecommunications equipment cool emit a loud, persistent hum. We counted on the new code to bring this noise under control, but as written, it won’t.

According to your story, the new code says that when a new circulation device is installed in a building, the cumulative sound of all such devices should not exceed 45 decibels. This is pretty much what the code said last January. But then work continued behind closed doors. When the result was made public 11 months later, on Dec. 13, a day before the City Council’s environmental committee held a hearing on it, and a week before the full Council was to vote on it, the wording was different. Now the code said that the cumulative noise from all the equipment owned by the person installing the new equipment shall not exceed 45 decibels. There is a big difference between one person’s equipment and the equipment of all the tenants in a building as big as 60 Hudson St. Forty-five decibels sounds pretty reasonable, but not when it’s multiplied by 65 tenants.

What happened between January and December? It became clear at the environmental committee’s hearing, where special thanks were given at the outset to representatives of the real estate industry, along with the construction and nightlife industries for their help in developing the new code.

We are grateful to Councilmember Alan Gerson for his last-minute negotiation of a panel that will consider inadequacies in the new code and recommend changes that can be adopted before it goes into effect 18 months from now.

Deborah Allen

Vice president, Neighbors Against NOISE

B.P.C. street safety

To The Editor:

Since I moved here six months ago, among all of the outstanding qualities of Battery Park City, I’ve notice that there lurks a not-so-hidden threat to our great community.

As I cross our quiet streets numerous times a day, I constantly witness taxi cabs and non-resident motorists speeding around our neighborhood and breaking through intersections with blatant disregard for traffic laws and stop signs.

While I attribute most of the fault for this grave danger to the motorists themselves, I also cannot help but be concerned that the problem also lies in the fact that many of these drivers are probably unaccustomed to stop signs being posted on New York City streets, and to the fact that many of these stop signs are hidden behind trees or are obstructed by construction. The feeling of both living in New York and in a much quieter and smaller community is one that should be cherished by us all, but we are all at risk of serious injury or even death as these drivers approach at intersections or race around looking for their next fare.

I’ve discussed this with many neighbors on North End Ave., and the consensus is clear that something must be done. Those of us who agree that there is, in fact, a problem in our community must speak up as a unified voice to tell the Battery Park City Authority and the City of New York that this danger must be eradicated.

Raphael A. Posner

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