Submit a report

Having a problem related to Atlantic Yards? Log in or register for a free account to submit a report to AYW.

State and City agencies allow extended hours construction across the entire Atlantic Yards site


Construction hours in New York City generally span the period from 7 am to 6 pm weekdays.  One work shift five days a week from 7 am to 3:30 pm is the norm.

Atlantic Yards is different with extended construction hours taking place throughout the project and its vicinity.  Even though the developer currently is a leaseholder of a little more than half of the project's prospective 22 acre site, construction still takes place throughout much of the 22 acres.  And construction in every location has been allowed by the State and City agencies that oversee the work to extend beyond NYC's normal weekday construction hours.

The map above is indexed to show the locations where permission to conduct work outside of normal construction hours is detailed in the Atlantic Yards Construction Update dated from September 25th to October 9th.  The 2006 footprint of the project is highlighted in orange; areas with active construction work are a stronger orange.

1).  Installation of the traffic mitigation that closes northbound traffic on 4th Avenue at Times Square occurs at night between 10 pm and 6 am "per DOT stipulations."  Two community members have observed in their incident reports that some of this nighttime work (which includes jackhammering) is taking place inside an area from which traffic is already barred.  The construction update states because some of the work is at the edge of the traffic island, a travel lane adjacent to the island must be taken out of service while the work is underway.  This work is anticipated to end by the beginning of November, but its nighttime noise impacts may be replaced by sewer and water main work in the same relative vicinity.  A community member writes, "If the DOT / DEP commission or someone in charge would come observe for one night and hear what is going on they would be shocked."

2).  Installation of a modified curb profile traffic mitigation at Pacific and 4th Avenues. Although the construction update does not detail the work which includes jackhammering must take place at night, it does take place at night.  A community member writes, "It is torture for those of who live in the area."  (See video below filmed at street level at 10:00 pm on October 3, 2011)

3).  Installation of a distribution water main along the sidewalk of Flatbush, north of Atlantic.  This work, which does not appear to have started yet, is to be done at night (10pm to 6am) and requires the partial closure of the sidewalk and the curb lane of traffic during work hours.  The work will take two to three months in this location and then move southward and cross Flatbush.

4).  The construction alert states that temporary concrete road decking over transit is substantially complete, but if there is a need to do any related work, such work will be performed at night per DOT stipulations.

5).  The installation of a curb extension traffic mitigation on Dean Street west of Flatbush is just getting started.  Work there is scheduled to be complete within 3-4 weeks.  The work is to be performed during nighttime hours of 10 am - 6 pm.  Residents near this intersection have already experienced extensive nighttime work in the past from the installation of sewer and water mains as well as other utilities.

6).  Work on the arena is regularly permitted to occur weekdays for a second and third shift from 3-11 PM and from 11 PM to 7 AM.  It often takes place.  Saturday work is also permitted and currently takes place.

7).  Work on water and sewer mains on Dean Street takes place from 10 pm to 6 am.   

8).  Deliveries to the arena site via Pacific Street between 6th Avenue and Carlton Avenue have been moved up to 6 am "to reduce congestion and interference with local traffic."  The contractor wants to continue this until arena opening.  Truck deliveries also take place regularly on weekends. Complaints about the use of Pacific Street for truck deliveries are a regular occurrence on this site.

9).  Like all work in the Vanderbilt Railyard, the installation of mini-piles and structural support system for the LIRR car shop is permitted an extended shift on weekdays from 6 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday work from 7 am to 5:30 pm, and Sunday work from 8 am to 4:30 pm.  One writer of an incident report notes, "Starting work on Sat at 7am with a jackhammer attached to an earth mover breaking down a concrete wall seems over the top."

10).  The re-building of the Carlton Avenue Bridge is permitted an extended shift on weekdays from 6 am to 4:30 pm, Saturdays from 7 am to 5:30 pm, and Sunday work from 8 am to 4:30 pm.  The Bridge lay dormant for several years after it was closed and partially demolished in January 2008.  It now has an anticipated completion date of the arena opening.

11).  Tunnel work on the LIRR is permitted from 6 am to 4:30 pm weekdays, Saturdays from 7 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

12).  Construction staging and material/equipment storage for nighttime work is located on block 1129.  This means whenever nighttime work is scheduled elsewhere in the project, contractors enter and exit this area at night.  Complaints have been received from residents on Carlton Avenue, Dean Street and Vanderbilt Avenue.  The most recent states, "I was awoken from sleep by loud noise at 1:45 am on Friday 10/7/11. I looked out of my bedroom window which faces Dean Street and observed for several minutes a bulldozer picking up rocks from the construction site and dumping them into a dumpster. Aside from the noise this work created the annoying beeps of the bulldozer whenever it backed up made me want to go out and throw rocks at the operator.  (See below video shot from a residence on Carlton Avenue at 10:30 pm approximately a year ago).

13).  While not technically considered part of the Atlantic Yards Project, catch basins, water and sewer mains are scheduled to be installed on Atlantic Avenue between Carlton and Vanderbilt (and a portion of Vanderbilt) lining the second phase project footprint starting in late October.  Whether directly associated with Atlantic Yards or not, the work may be scheduled now to avoid the significant increase in traffic that will occur when the arena opens.  The work will take place from 8 pm to 4 am.


The FEIS, construction deadlines and less construction

The FEIS anticipates extended workdays 40% of the time over the course of the project's construction.  One day of weekend work is anticipated 50% of the time over the course of construction, with "in exceptional circumstances" two weekend days required (FEIS, 17-11)

The Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments contains commitments distilled from the FEIS including:

  • A noise control plan would be developed and implemented to minimize intrusive noise emanating into nearby areas and affecting sensitive receptors.
  • Work generating high noise levels would be scheduled during normal weekday work hours to the extent possible unless required by safety or other Agency requirements.
  • Saturday work would begin on Saturday from 7 am with worker arrival and site preparation and extend to 5 pm. (Railyard work is currently permitted from 7 am to 5:30 pm.)
  • In general the extended shift would include no more than 20% of the normal weekday force and evening work no more than 10%.
  • To the extent feasible, scheduling equipment and material deliveries during weekday daytime hours, rather than during weekday nighttime or weekend hours.

It is not known why City and State agencies permit so much after hours work at Atlantic Yards because reports from FCRC and ESDC state construction is on schedule.  This week FCRC spokesman Joe DePlasco told the Brooklyn Paper that the pace of construction "will continue through the arena opening, but denied that the work was ramped up to keep the project on schedule." 

Noticing New York argues that either construction has actually fallen behind schedule or that, unlike what is anticipated in the FEIS, 24/7 construction was always intended.  Atlantic Yards Report coverage of a Good Day NY interview quotes Bruce Ratner saying "we don't want to take any chances," when asked about the pace of construction, "It's going on all the time, on weekends, and after-hours."

The scale of the construction now taking place is less, and the size of the structures being built is smaller, than anticipated in the FEIS for this period in the project.  The project plans in 2006 included an arena and four buildings on the arena block all being built in tandem to the extent that their foundations and HVAC systems were woven together.  In addition underground parking and a much larger arena loading dock were to be constructed at the same time.  The last element of the first phase of the project including an additional building on Site 5 was to be complete one year after the arena opened.  

Now the buildings in the arena block have been separated and their construction timetable has been allowed to extend to twelve years, or possibly more.  If FCRC chooses to build the permanent railyard, most likely its construction will no longer overlap with the construction of the arena as was originally planned.  Finally, the 6th Avenue Bridge is no longer to be demolished and rebuilt, also lessening the amount of work FCRC needs to do now.

So if work is on schedule, and construction tasks have been lessened, why is so much more extended hours work approved (and taking place) than anticipated in 2006?  What is being illustrated is both the challenge of predicting construction impacts in an environmental impact statement, and of enforcing commitments made to mitigate the impacts.  The latter is particularly true if there is little or no incentive for either the ESDC or FCRC to identify the adverse impacts the project generates.