Living Next To

Living next to a 'play street'? Don't even think of working from home

By Tony Vellela  | March 21, 2012 - 3:51PM

There are a lot of great things about my neighborhood, and specifically, my street--107th, between Broadway and Amsterdam. It's a 24-hour kind of place and if I need anything at 2 in the morning, I can usually get it. The transportation is great and both Riverside and Central Park are just three blocks in either direction.

When I first moved in and saw that there was a church on the block—Ascension--I liked the idea. I figured it would have a stabilizing effect on the block, give it a sense of community.

Now that very same church has become a problem, or, more specifically, the school that is attached to the church.

About two years ago, the school set up a play street on the block. That means that every school day, between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m. the block is closed to traffic whenever the temperature is 35 degrees or more.

I teach at home and have had to cancel sessions once they've begun because it's so incredibly noisy.  

Another problem is that vehicles--like Access-A-Ride--can't get down the block or passed the barricades when the play street is in session.

In order to establish a play street, the local Community Board requires applicants to notify the people in the effected area so that they can have some input into the decision via the Board's Transportation Committee. No one on my block remembers seeing any such notice posted.

Rules pertaining to noise (and many other things) do not apply to churches. And whenever I get up to speak about the problem in public, I’m vilified for being anti-church, anti-God, anti-child. Next they’ll be accusing me of being anti-sunshine.

Since there are no signs put up on a block that has a play street, I'd suggest that if you're considering moving to a block that has a school on it–one that doesn't have its own play yard (many private schools don't have them), that you check with the school [or a daytime doorman] to see if there is, in fact, a play street. If the answer is yes and you work at home, you might want to consider a different block.

Living Next to....explores the good, the bad, and the memorable of living near someplace other would rather not.  Have a story to share? Let us know--we'd love to hear!

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