Neighbors Get Rude Awakenings from New Tribeca Bakery/Cafe

Three vents on the Harrison Street side of Maison Kayser. The upper two vents are for air intake. The one below blows hot air. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jul. 19, 2015

Maison Kayser, Tribeca’s new bakery and café on the corner of Harrison and Greenwich Streets, opened on Saturday July 18 across the street from Jane Freeman’s Harrison Street apartment. But it wasn’t the smell of coffee or the buttery pastries in the window that brought the place to her immediate attention.

“Suddenly I woke up because there was this noise that sounded like six big trucks idling downstairs,” recalled Freeman, who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.  “I went around to my windows wondering where the trucks were and didn’t see any.”

The incessant roar, which Freeman and her similarly sleep-deprived neighbors quickly came to discover that Friday night, was coming from large vents on the Harrison Street side of the restaurant that are tied to air circulation for refrigeration equipment in the basement.

“I assumed it was temporary,” Freeman said. “But then it was there in the morning, noon and night. Twenty-four hours a day. It never goes off.”

“It’s a residential block and it's installed with total disregard for the people who walk by and who live on the block,” said Scott Brindell, another tenant in the building, who said he has slept with his windows open during the summer until this problem began. Like Freeman and other neighbors, Brindell had filed complaints with 311 as well as the restaurant's newly installed management. 

In an email to the Trib, Marine Blotacz, the manager of new stores for Maison Kayser USA, said that a "critical piece of equipment" for the exhaust fan, responsible for both the speed and sound of the system, had failed. "We are working expeditiously to solve this issue," she wrote. "Maison Kayser is thrilled to be part of the Tribeca community, and wants to ensure the residents that we are working diligently to resolve this."

Alex Gillett, the restaurant's general manager, told the Trib he has been on the receiving end of many of the complaints from neighbors, as well as some customers who have had to leave before ordering their food.

“I can’t open the door because it’s too noisy,” he said.