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Crown Heights Residents Complain, Generators on President St Pose Noise and Safety Concerns

Generators setup on opposite ends of the Bedford Armory construction site have been disturbing neighbors as it runs nonstop over the pass two weeks.
Bedford Union Armory construction 2
The largest of two generators on President Street and Bedford Avenue. Photo by: York Chan for BK Reader

Crown Heights residents are worried about air and noise pollution from large generators at the Bedford Union Armory construction site. They say the fumes and noises it produces have been a disturbing menace.

Two large generators deployed on opposite ends of President Street in March have been running nonstop for more than two weeks.

The smallest of the two generators on President Street and Rogers Avenue. Photo by: York Chan for BK Reader

Resident Elizabeth Fortune is worried about the environmental and health impact the generators will have on the neighborhood and its elderly population.

Fortune has been posting daily on her Twitter account about the generators while her husband, James Thomas has been making in-person complaints to construction crews..

The two have had to shut their windows and curtains to mitigate the smell of the fumes and even had to wear headphones and turn on noise machines to lessen the impact of the generators while they worked from home.

"I can smell it by the window, even with the window closed," said Fortune. "It's preventing us from using our fan and getting fresh air."

According to the EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, diesel generators and the particulates they emit in construction sites can affect the health of workers and the residents that live nearby.

Short-term exposure to such emission can cause headaches and dizziness, while long-term exposure can cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

However, according to emails that Fortune received from Eric Woodlin, director of community engagement at BFC Partners, the developers, the larger of the two generators which Fortune is most concerned about on Bedford Avenue and President Street is registered through the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and is code compliance through January 2022.

Woodlain claims the generators meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. 

Con Edison working to setup power to Bedford Union Armory construction. Photo by: York Chan for BK Reader

The generators are also permitted to run 24/7 to power all three buildings of the armory to provide heating and lighting through July until Con Edison has finished setting up proper power to the buildings, which they estimated would be complete by May 1.

However as of May 6, the generators continue to run.

"The Armory will feature a cogent plant, which we are working with ConEd to bring online in a matter of days," said Woodlin in a statement.

"This sustainable electrical infrastructure will mitigate consumption effects on our local environment and protect the community against blackouts and brownouts that are projected to become a growing issue across NYC."