Chelsea Now Magazine

December 18, 2013

Fitness Facility Crosses Upstairs Neighbors

Brick Crossfit gym opened in August 2013 without the required Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) special permit for a Physical Culture Establishment (PCE). The result is now a lawsuit initiated by the condo board at the Steiner Building, 257 West l7th Street, the first floor and basement location of Brick, against the gym’s owners. Supporters of the gym explained that Brick encourages a healthy environment and wants to be a positive addition to the community.

"The most dramatic moment occurred when Alan Fierstein of Acoustilog played the recording he made in a second floor apartment"
However, one after another of the Steiner Building residents testified that from 6am to 8pm (sometimes even after 9pm at night) as high up as the sixth floor, they could hear weights dropping, instructors encouraging their students and music blasting. Their china vibrates and so do mattresses, and their children cannot do their homework. In addition to the daily stress, residents are concerned about the devaluation of their investment in their homes. Brick seems to have violated an interim court order of no weight lifting or classes before 7:30am or after 8:30pm. Frank Angelino, attorney for Brick, addressed the board saying that the gym is ‘committed to being as good a neighbor as possible... In order to solve any sound issues Brick in the beginning put in a soundproof floor that didn't work out as well as intended and it is continuing to work on that to cover the entire area of 8000 square feet.’ lt was pointed out by an architect of gyms who lives in the building that Brick did not study the science of sound transmission, which is routinely done when planning a gym, before opening and accepting members. Both Brick and the residents hired acoustical engineers.

Acoustilog for the residents, and Shen Milsom & Wilke for Brick, both agreed that the vibration and noise needed to be reduced. The most dramatic moment occurred when Alan Fierstein of Acoustilog played the recording he made in a second floor apartment at 6:44am on November 22. The repeated boom sound, like the steady beat of a kettledrum, was stunning. “I can demonstrate the sound but I can't demonstrate what it actually feels like with the vibrations.” Fierstein said.

CB4 later voted to send a strong letter to the chair of the Board of Standards and Appeals to deny the granting of a special permit to Brick Crossfit for a PCE. The letter set conditions for returning quality of life to the residents of the Steiner Building, which if followed. could lift the board's denial. but noted that "Neither consultant can confirm that any of the mitigations would be sufficient to reduce noise levels enough to be code compliant.” The board also wrote that it ‘feels strongly that BSA should not grant approval of this application until the finding  in (the special permit) is met and should require the gym to cease operation until the application is approved.” The board is also planning on contacting the Department of Buildings and the New York City Fire Department, since a blocked emergency exit was made known at the meeting.

Since CB4's December 4 meeting. it was learned that Brick is spending $250,000 to install added floor padding and a special acoustical drop ceiling in the facility. which noted a membership of 600 at the meeting. Installation has not yet been completed.



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