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Resident complaints sink Hudson River Park rock concerts

The Gaslight Anthem performing at the Hudson River

The Gaslight Anthem performing at the Hudson River Park Pier 26 in NYC. (July 26, 2013) Photo Credit: Joe Papeo

Rock concerts at the Hudson River Park's Pier 26 will not return next summer, and the last open slot in the current 10-show series will not be filled, according to an email to TriBeCa residents from the group overseeing the event.

The Hudson River Park Trust made its decision about the outdoor series due to noise complaints from residents, said Madelyn Wils, the trust's president and chief executive in an email sent Friday.

"What was meant to be a positive experience has ended up disturbing many of our neighbors, and we apologize for that and ask for your patience and understanding during the remaining concerts," Wils said.

Residents said concerts are not the problem, the volume is, and the current situation could have been avoided had the trust conferred with neighbors before the shows were booked. Past swing and jazz events "were great," said North Moore Street resident Marie Vittoria.

Neighbor Teri Mendez called the letter "a start" and a possible opportunity to involve neighbors "in events that would have an audible environmental impact" on the community.

The Pier 26 concerts drew big crowds to the area, but many residents said the loud music made their homes uninhabitable. The combined setting of the river with the adjacent high buildings amplifies and reverberates sound, Wils said.

Fees to rent the pier for the paid concerts are $9,500 per show plus a percentage of the sponsorship sales, Wils said in a July interview. The generated funds help pay for the 5-mile-long park's free programs.

Longtime North Moore Street resident and activist Grazia Vita said news that the concert series would not return next summer was "the beginning of a discussion."

The producers of the Pier 26 concerts, promoters The Bowery Presents, will put on the final four shows, including the final concert Sept. 7, Wils said.

The trust will work with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to control the noise level during the remaining concerts, according to the letter.

Neither agency returned calls for comment on the letter, the decision to end the concerts or noise mitigation.

Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1 chairwoman, said she hopes the trust will include neighbors in discussions about future events that affect them. "The residents that were impacted by the concerts should be happy with the response of" the trust, "although some attending the concerts might be disappointed," she said.

Mike Gibson, owner of Ivy's Bistro, located a block from Pier 26, said "it would be unfortunate if they stopped" events on the pier. He said he had scheduled an additional staffer on show nights because of increased customer traffic.

Mendez said she will not be around for the Aug. 10 show. "There is no way they will be successful in mitigating the travel of sound in this area," she said.

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