|An employee of Rainbow Castle Preschool, which is next to the site, said the noise is driving everyone crazy, but that the children have grown accustomed to the repetitive thud that can be felt inside the building.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
If you walk along the 100 block of Main Street in Hackensack, you can smell the diesel fumes and hear the loud crashing noise from a pile driver on the biggest construction site in the city.
Everyone from children attending a preschool next to the enormous pit to lawyers down the block are being driven crazy by the constant hammering of steel beams into the ground.
This site, where a 14-story apartment building will rise, is the second major project in Hackensack's ambitious downtown rehabilitation plan.
The first, at 94 State St., has already started leasing, according to a sign on the 222-unit residential building.
"You can hear the constant hammering from the pile driver at the big site," says a lawyer whose office is on the same block. "I can hardly concentrate."
At Merit Trophy, employees had to clear the shelves, because "things were falling," the lawyer said
|On Sunday, The Record's Better Living section promoted a cranberry chocolate chip ice cream sold at Ice Cream by Mike on Main Street in Hackensack, but the store was closed, below.|
|The sign says, "Closed for repairs."|
The 382-unit building at 150-170 Main St. is expected to take up to 30 months to build, and will include 7,500 square feet of new retail with outdoor seating and dining.
The storefronts, which will face Main Street, are "expected to breath new life into the area," city officials say.
That may be the only consolation in view of the impact the construction noise is having on established businesses, law offices and restaurants.
Art of Spice, an Asian Indian restaurant, is across the street at 159 Main St., but it's closed on Mondays.
At Casual Habana Cafe, 125 Main St., where a $10 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is served, employees said the pile driver didn't bother them or customers because the music playing on the sound system drowned out the noise.
|Rainbow Castle Preschool is on the edge of the construction pit.|
A sea change?
On Monday, only a couple of days after The Record named a new editor, readers did a double take at all of the municipal news filling Local, a section that has been dominated by Law & Order news for far too long.
Most of the stories were from Teaneck, Bogota, Leonia and other Bergen County towns, and stories about Passaic County towns appeared on L-6.
Instead of the usual gee-whiz shot of a vehicle rollover on L-3, a beautifully composed photo by freelancer Jim Anness showed a man sitting on a bench in brilliant sunshine, his feet in snow, with the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge in the background.
One step back
Unfortunately, today's Local section seems to be a return to business as usual, with the third sensational story in a row on a husband charged with killing his wife all over L-1.
But the section also contains two local obituaries (L-1 and L-6), and municipal stories from a number of towns.
What hasn't changed is that Editor Deirdre Sykes and Managing Editor Dan Sforza continue their boycott of Hackensack news.
Todd South, the reporter formerly assigned to the city, was promoted to another beat, and Sykes and Sforza haven't replaced him.
That may mean the newsroom is short of staff as a result of Publisher Stephen A. Borg's many economies -- from moving printing of the paper out of Hackensack to a major downsizing to completely abandoning the city in 2009.
Borg also has denied raises to newsroom employees for more than 5 years, even as he and his family have prospered.
The wage freeze has been cited as a factor in the recent departure of two star reporters, Shawn Boburg and wife Stephanie Akin.
Page 1 politics
In another bad sign, Sykes is continuing her predecessor's obsession with politics, wasting a huge amount of front-page space on the Iowa caucuses today and Monday.
An A-1 story or column from Iowa by political reporter Charles Stile appears both days, but a reader of the paper says his story on Governor Christie's dismal showing is not accurate.
Stile, the paper's chief Christie apologist, claims the GOP bully "was tied for seventh place" with three other also-rans (A-1); the reader and other media say Christie finished 10th.
Now, Stile will try to convince readers Christie has a far better chance in New Hampshire.
But with crackpot Ted Cruz's victory in Iowa, the presidential election is all but decided, because America certainly will pick a Democrat to move the country forward over a Tea Party conservative who wants to turn back the clock.