Mount Sinai’s new construction project raises neighborhood concerns 



The facade of 432 W. 58th Street, Mount Sinai’s newest acquisition that’s under construction. Photo: Nicole Soviero.

It might be time to grab your earplugs. Mount Sinai Hospital on 10th Avenue is redeveloping a vacant, partially demolished building located at 432 W. 58th St.  

The building, initially sold by Mount Sinai in 2015 to the Italian school La’Scuola d’Italia, was bought back by the hospital in April 2018 for $71.5 million dollars, according to records provided by the New York City Department of Finance. The construction permit allows work to be done from 7am-6pm on weekdays. While the majority of the construction is intended for the building’s interior, the exterior is open in places, so indoor noise may affect those on the street.

At a mid-September Community Board 4 meeting, representatives from Lendlease, the construction and development company in charge of the project, and representatives from Mount Sinai, presented their plans, stating the finished building will be used for administrative purposes. Lendlease and Mount Sinai declined to comment on when the exact start date would be. While CB4 signed off on the plan, some community members are still concerned that the noise will affect their everyday life.  

Yasmeen El, a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, walks down West 58th Street every day to get to school. Since John Jay is situated about 200 feet from the building site, loud noises can be heard from certain classrooms. El is worried that the construction will impact her studies. “I have mostly day classes so when they are working it is going to be really annoying and hard to focus when you hear things being thrown around.”  

Another issue she is worried about is the sidewalk foot traffic. “A lot of students walk on one side of this block,” she says “so just imagine one side of the block closed off and then hundreds of students walking back and forth to school…it’s going to be a hassle.”

Some local residents are anxious that construction will affect idling traffic. West 58th is a busy street with a horse and carriage route and a parking garage across from the construction site.  Jessica Cruz, who lives in a nearby building, is very concerned that once the work begins traffic will get worse.  

“I think it will be terrible,” she says. “In addition to the construction that’s happening for this building, there’s also the loading dock that’s across the street.”

Michelle Chou, manager of Bijou Nails across from the building site, is nervous that the construction will impact her business. “The nail business relies on weekend customers,” she says. “If they close off the street or sidewalk for construction, people won’t be able to get here to get their nails done.”

Bijou Nails is open from 10am-8pm Monday through Saturday, which overlaps the same weekday hours of the planned construction. Chou says clients already comment about how loud the street is but thinks it will get worse once the work begins. “Customers complain about noise and we have to keep our door closed when there is construction on the street,” adding, “that is bad for business because we depend on walk-ins.”

Jesse Bodine, district manager of Community Board 4, is confident that Mount Sinai will make an effort to not disturb daily life in the neighborhood. He said CB4 recommended that Mount Sinai communicate regularly with the neighborhood via email every two weeks.  

Bodine said the emails are meant to “keep the neighborhood aware of what is happening at different stages of construction,” including change in work times or sidewalk blockades. He added that Mount Sinai has to provide the Department of Buildings “with a tenant production plan or some type of report” that proves they are operating within the city’s noise code.

Above all, Bodine said pedestrian safety is top priority, followed by issues concerning “quality of life in terms of noise, dust, idling air pollution.” At the CB4 meeting, Mount Sinai and Lendlease representatives made it clear that they will have safety managers to monitor the site.  

Some local residents aren’t worried about any additional street noise, like Carlos Mollaa who lives to the left of the site. “There has always been a hospital on the other side and one building has been under construction for about five years. It’s a noisy place so I’m not sure I’m going to notice,” he said. 

The goal for Mount Sinai is to have the construction done by fall 2020.