Living in a work zone

I live downtown in a city. I was a suburban child with occasional forays into New York City. My mom would take me with her to see her sister (one of many, but the only local one) and we’d ride the commuter rail into Grand Central station. We would stop by Fannie Farmer and I’d get a treat.

We’d take the shuttle train that runs between grand central and times square. From there we could pick up either the local or express IRT subway. We’d exit at 72nd street and walk to Riverside drive. My mom would visit with her sister and I would bang on the piano.

Living in any city means there are constant threads of activity and sometimes disruptions to one’s life. Recently this meant that there have been three construction crews running there equipment every day, and their trucks making parking a bit of pain.

A couple of months ago the crew working for the health center started running a gigantic dust collector. For those who aren’t familiar, small dust collectors separate dust into a filter and large chunky bits into a bag for disposal.

For commercial crews this is hugely scaled up. For them I’d estimate a 30 hp turbine powered by a generator, a dumpster for the big stuff and a dust collector to capture the fine particles. The noise has been such that much of my apartment becomes rather unpleasant to be in from 7-3pm most days. In fact the word I would use is unusable since the volume drowns out most things I’d want to do. I’ve estimated that the exterior volume is around 100 dba and the interior volume around 80 dba. (see

The city’s ordinance is for no more than 60 dba. While I am sure they have a permit to make more noise, this has got to be in excess of what they allowed. Bless the city, but they blew me off as well.

For the past two months I’ve been trying to work with our leasing office and then directly with the health center. I got lip service but no action from the health center. The latest was that there was only a couple more weeks of it intermittently.

First do no harm is a principal that a health center should adhere to. It is hard to adequately convey the sense I have of being betrayed by them.


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