Volume 21, Number 37 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 23 - 29, 2009

Wait for soundproof windows looks to be over at 1 spot

By Julie Shapiro

When Pat Moore heard that her apartment across from the World Trade Center site was finally getting soundproof windows, she put one hand over her heart and pretended to swoon.

“Take me away,” she joked, tossing her head back.

One year ago, the Port Authority agreed to reimburse buildings overlooking the W.T.C. construction for soundproof windows, so residents can sleep even when the Port pushes work to nearly 24 hours a day. But Samson Management, the company that owns Moore’s building at 125 Cedar St., was slow to sign an agreement with the Port Authority, leaving Moore and her neighbors without recourse.

After pressure from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Councilmember Alan Gerson, Samson just signed the agreement and the windows will arrive soon, said Glenn Guzi, a program manager with the Port Authority. The Port will pay $123,600 for 103 windows.

Samson Management did not return a call for comment this week.

Samson was not the first building owner to sign on to the agreement, and they may not be the last. The earliest one was 113 Cedar St., where the Port installed 18 soundproof windows in six apartments near the end of last year, reimbursing the owner $20,400.

“The difference is remarkable,” said Charles Gengler, president of Baldwin Realty, which owns 113 Cedar. Gengler paid an extra several thousand dollars to install soundproofing around the apartments’ air conditioning units, because it would have been pointless to soundproof the windows without also sealing the other places noise can enter the apartments, he said.

Gengler’s only concern now is that the heavy windows will be cumbersome to clean.

If you’re not prepared, I’m afraid people will be surprised [by the weight],” Gengler said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed there will be no accidents.”

The Port is also in the process of hammering out an agreement with 114 Liberty St., a condo building that installed soundproof windows several years ago in anticipation of the noisy work at the site. While the Port initially said the reimbursement offer did not apply to 114 Liberty St., David Stanke, a resident, said the Port has been very open and helpful, and he believes the residents and the Port will reach an agreement soon.

The final building that hasn’t signed on is 90 West St. Peter Levenson, a principal at the Kibel Companies, a co-owner of the landmark Cass Gilbert building, said he wants to install the windows at the tenants’ request, not automatically. Since 90 West’s windows are already new and high quality, Levenson said the soundproof windows would not make enough of a difference to be worth the hassle in every apartment facing the site.

“The Port Authority is not 100 percent on board [with that plan],” Levenson said, but he added, “We’re going to have a meeting of minds.”

Guzi, from the Port Authority, announced that Moore’s building at 125 Cedar St. was getting the soundproof windows at a Community Board 1 meeting earlier this month. Later in the meeting, Moore expressed an unrelated concern about how residents will cross West St. once the Liberty St. pedestrian bridge is reconfigured at the end of the year.

“You got the windows,” Guzi replied, joking that the Port could only grant so many community wishes.

Moore replied, “If I’ve got no noise to complain about, I’ve got a new thing.”


Julie@DowntownExpress.com




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