The streets of New York have always been loud, but for residents like Julia Perez, this soundtrack has reached an all-time high.
The trucks of Fresh Direct park across from her building, on 80th Street and Broadway, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., creating loud noises from the truck’s compressor. “The sound is like a 747 in your living room,” said Perez.
Since January 2015, the truck has been around the area, parked outside as deliverymen from the organic food company unload their products to deliver to the neighborhood -- potentially in violation of city rules.
According to the Department of Transportation, commercial trucks are not allowed to park in any area, including residential areas, for more than three hours. As early as 6:45 am, Perez, a retired senior citizen, can hear the noises from the compressor on the truck buzz outside her window that faces Broadway. “Some people are totally oblivious of the noise because it depends on where they are in the apartment building.”
The trucks also block local businesses from view. iStyle Salon, a business around the corner from Perez at 225 W. 80th St., is one of the storefronts blocked by the commercial truck. Employees from the salon declined to comment. “Most people are afraid to deal with this kind of bigger than life authority figures,” said Perez. “They just come and take over.”
Fresh Direct is known for delivering “the highest quality food from farm to table,” including to the elderly or other residents who do not have the means to reach organic grocery stores. Perez understands that the company is providing a positive service to the community; the problem for her is the way they are doing it. A Fresh Direct spokesperson said the company is aware of the issue in delivering to the community as it tries to find other ways to make both sides satisfied. Currently, the truck runs on a Biodiesel engine that generates power for the compressor. The company said it is working on getting electric refrigerated trucks, which would be fully charged in the morning and run throughout, eliminating the noise from the engine.
Perez, along with other residents on the Upper West Side, have complained to local Councilmember Helen Rosenthal about the problem.
“Fresh Direct has been very responsive to outreach from my office, and I appreciate that they’re parking the trucks instead of idling, and that they’re working to change the cooling motors on their trucks so that they don’t make noise,” she said. “But I’d like clarification on when that change is going to happen.”