Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Main Street high-rise construction driving everyone crazy

A diesel-powered pile driver is hammering steel beams deep into the ground at Main and Mercer streets in Hackensack, above and below, where a 14-story apartment building will rise, only a block or so from the old headquarters of The Record. The Borg family's property along River Street has been approved for 700 residential units, but they haven't announced a development deal yet. 

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.


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." 

'New life'

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.

Went south?

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.


  1. A Hackensack reader says:

    Victor -- You must call out Stile -- I could not believe that in his report on the election he said that Christie was "tied for seventh." He finished tenth. All of the boards on TV all night showed him at tenth. He may have had the same percentage as Kasich, Fiorina and Huckabee, but he finished behind them -- this reporting is just totally unacceptable.

    1. The guy's a hack. Plus all the money spent on sending him to Iowa and probably to New Hampshire really grates with staffers who have been told to go screw themselves, if they've asked for a raise in the past 5 years or longer.

  2. Ice Cream by Mike offers really good ice cream, but he uses very decadent ingredients (I know you try to watch your cream intake). I've seen a few restaurants in his spot come and go because the storefront is so hidden. But, that spot suits an ice cream parlor perfectly. I can't imagine how annoying the noise from the construction must be for area businesses and customers. Art of Spice is lovely inside and has tasty food, but its view currently sucks, and it also has to contend with the constant booming from the next-door entertainment business.

    1. Thanks. I haven't eaten at Art of Spice recently, but I am sure their lunch buffet business is suffering. I only go there for dinner.


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