Michele Wucker started hearing construction trucks pulling up to the site across from her apartment on 94th street shortly after 6 a.m. last week. It was the latest intrusion in what she says has been an almost nonstop racket for months, no matter whether it’s the crack of dawn or a weekend. The Buildings Department has been giving out weekend and after-hours permits to construction sites throughout the neighborhood despite pleas from residents and politicians to give them a break. As we reported a few months ago, locals have reported construction starting as early as 5 a.m. and ending as late as 2 a.m.

Wucker lives across the street from 319 West 94th street, the SRO known as St. Louis Hall. The nonprofit Lantern Group is developing supportive housing units there to house formerly homeless people with a history of mental illness. After complaints about the site, the DOB had told the local community board last year that it wouldn’t issue permits there anymore on weekends, but it has started issuing them again weekend after weekend despite more complaints. The site has also had other problems: a partial stop-work order was issued last month after the fire department reported that debris was falling from the building.

“The last 6 weekends there has been construction and now 6 am heavy equipment -dumpster moving truck an hour before legal construction begins…It’s insane that there’s no limit on the number of weekends -especially consecutive weekends-that they can do this and bring heavy equipment in. My big problem is with DoB — they issue the after hours permits without regard to whether an organization has a good or bad record, and no matter what the impact on the neighborhood”

Wucker also videotaped trucks moving around the site at 6:13 a.m. on a weekday (we posted her videos below). Construction isn’t supposed to start until 7 a.m. on weekdays.

When we checked with the Buildings Department, they said they looked into Wucker’s complaint and didn’t find a problem: “The Department recently inspected in response to complaints about early-morning construction and did not observe any construction activity.” We talked to the construction superintendent, who denied working during off-hours.

“After-hour variances are issued when the scope of the work necessitates that construction activity continue outside of normal business hours or on weekends,” a DOB spokeswoman said. “After-hours variances allow a project to move safely and expeditiously towards completion.”

Have you been dealing with construction noise at all hours? Let us know!

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 5 comments | permalink
    1. BILL says:


    2. jerry says:

      The rampant construction, demolition and reconstruction is a major quality of life issue for us on the UWS…and for all New Yorkers. I live on 88th Street, between WEA and Riverside Drive, and there was one day last week when there were 4 dumpsters on this short block. And the sound of the equipment wakes you up anytime between 7 and 8am. This whole city is overbuilt…and the hopeful side of this coin is – that like any commodity or stock – it can be overbought or oversold. Right now, it’s definitely overbuilt. People who are looking at the UWS are beginning to realize it is not the UWS they imagined or thought about – a close knit neighborhood, not too crowded, some mom’s and pop’s (goodbye, Nick’s), and a gentility and style that is fading fast. Time to look at the next “hot” neighborhood…Brooklyn is in the process of attempting to take over the crown, Queens can’t wait…and Dubai is desperate.

    3. Daniel Grayson says:

      I have personally observed numerous violations, with work beginning significantly prior to 07:00 at the St.Louis hall site.

    4. Anthony says:

      855 West End Avenue – between 102nd & 101st.

      I can’t believe the neighbors haven’t started picketing this construction – which has been dragging on FOREVER. When you hear power saws slicing through lumber at 7:10 AM I’d say that’s too early.

      Wouldn’t you?

    5. Bob Bennett says:

      Why am I no longer getting regular emails about your stories? I miss them.