Volume 22, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 29 - February 4, 2010
Power shutdown at 60 Hudson raises questions
Neighbors of 60 Hudson St. are raising new safety alarms after an electrical emergency shut down power to the telecom hotel last Saturday.
The daylong shutdown meant that 60 Hudson St. relied on backup generators to keep its sensitive electronic equipment running. The residents noticed the noise and diesel fumes from the generators on Saturday and grew worried.
“We’ve just had it,” said Bruce Ehrmann, a Community Board 1 member who lives across from 60 Hudson St.
Ehrmann said the owner of 60 Hudson and Con Edison should have notified the community about the shutdown. The residents’ group Neighbors Against Noise has long raised concerns about the safety of the building, which stores over 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel to power the generators. Under a variance from the city, some of the fuel is stored above street level.
“There are obviously dangers in the building,” said Deborah Allen, who runs Neighbors Against Noise.
Residents saw fire trucks parked outside 60 Hudson St. on Saturday, but the F.D.N.Y. said it had no record of a response there.
The different entities responsible for Saturday’s electrical shutdown gave changing and conflicting explanations of what happened.
Alfonso Quiroz, Con Ed spokesperson, initially said Con Ed was not involved at all. He later said Con Ed took the building offline at the owner’s request so the owner could make repairs.
Brian Maddox, spokesperson for GVA Williams, the building’s owner, at first said the shutdown was just a scheduled test, but he later said it was for scheduled repairs.
However, Allen said she received an e-mail from an engineer in the building stating that the problem was with Con Ed’s electrical cables and that Con Ed shut down the building’s electricity to make the emergency repairs.
Ehrmann heard from a worker in the building that the building was “running hot” prior to the repairs, although Ehrmann wasn’t sure exactly what the worker meant.
Borough President Scott Stringer sent a letter to Con Edison criticizing the lack of community notification and requesting that a Con Ed representative attend a C.B. 1 meeting next month. Quiroz, of Con Ed, said the borough president’s request was under review.
Neighbors Against Noise is holding a meeting this Sat., Jan. 30 at noon. The location has not yet been set.
— Julie Shapiro