View Full Version : The Dakota & San Remo are Black Smoke Polluters, Critics Say

January 13th, 2011, 05:11 PM
The Dakota and San Remo Are Black Smoke Polluters, Critics Say Updated 4 hrs ago

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The famed Dakota building is one of several Upper West Side landmarks that pollute the air by burning dirty heating oil.

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By Leslie Albrecht
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
UPPER WEST SIDE ó The Dakota is one of the most famous buildings on the Upper West Side, adding elegance to the corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West. But that's not the only thing it's adding to the neighborhood, environmentalists say.
The chimneys on its gabled roof spew black smoke from burning No. 6 heating oil, a pollutant that some studies have linked to cancer, asthma and premature death.
The same dirty oil heats several other well-known Upper West Side buildings, all of which are official city landmarks: the ornate Ansonia on Broadway and West 73rd, the twin-towered San Remo and El Dorado along Central Park West, the stately Belnord on West 87th Street, and the charming Dorilton on West 71st Street.
They're among about 3,000 buildings in Manhattan that burn No. 6 heating oil, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, which created a searchable map (http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=49624) to help raise awareness about dirty heating oil.
The smoke from heating fuel causes 50 percent more pollution than cars and trucks, EDF says.
EDF has been leading a campaign to ban No. 6 heating oil in New York, and its efforts were expected to get a boost shortly, said EDF attorney Isabelle Silverman.
The city's Department of Environmental Protection was expected to release new rules soon telling buildings they have to stop using No. 6 heating oil by 2015, Silverman said. Buildings would be asked to switch to cleaner heating oil such as No. 4, or use natural gas instead.
Most people were oblivious to the fact that some of their favorite Upper West Side buildings were contributing to the city's poor air quality, Silverman said.

"The Upper West Side really has a lot of these iconic buildings that we all know by name like the Dakota, the San Remo," said Silverman. "You walk into these lobbies, and thereís fresh flowers, itís so beautiful and everything is so great. But theyíre burning sludge in their boiler rooms."
Calls to the Dakota and San Remo property management offices weren't returned.

Ansonia property manager Marc Lippman said the Beaux Arts style building, built in 1904, has a decades-old boiler that has always used No. 6 heating oil.
But he added that No. 6 heating oil takes a toll on the building and makes maintaining the boiler a headache.
"Burning no. 6 is not fun," Lippman said. "Itís less expensive, but what goes along with that is a lot more difficulty in maintaining the boiler. We also understand that itís not the greatest thing for the atmosphere."
Lippman said the Ansonia's board was "green conscious," so he's looking at switching to a duel heating system that would burn natural gas or oil, or switching to cleaner No. 2 oil.

Silverman said she was hoping to convince property managers such as Lippman to switch to cleaner fuel by making an economic case.
While it was true that No. 6 heating oil was once far cheaper than other fuels, it's now only about 10 percent less expensive than cleaner oils, Silverman said. The increased maintenance costs associated with burning No. 6 made it pricier to burn in the long run, Silverman said.
Natural gas, the cleanest alternative, was also the most cost effective, Silverman said.

"There's a real business case to be made," said Silverman. "Natural gas is now cheaper than oil and it's predicted to stay that way."

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January 14th, 2011, 10:34 AM
There is a case made for long term expense, but not for the original outlay of cash for conversion. THAT costs a small fortune that these rich domiciles are ironically unwilling to pay (when you look at the cost of re-fitting these places to the price they sold for, it is a pittance, but yet they do not want to pay one cent. Watch them petition the city for an "Energy Conservation Tax Break" or something similar).

But it surprises me that so few know that some of these guys are belchers. All you need to do is look up.... oh. OK, I forgot that Natives are not allowed to look up while walking through the city..... ;)

January 14th, 2011, 12:11 PM
Well when your floating a gazillion dollar mortgage, a big maintenance assessment for a boiler/fuel replacement is no fun.

January 14th, 2011, 07:25 PM
Didn't even know they had an option. You'd think that wouldn't even be allowed anymore. Nevermind grandfathering.

January 14th, 2011, 07:28 PM
On a lighter note, sometime within the last year, NY Hospital/Cornell remodeled their smokestack. Presumably so it no longer looks like something out of the industrial revolution.

January 15th, 2011, 02:15 PM
No, there's still a lot of 6-oil flowing around the city. You would think that someone would come up with a cleaner, more efficient way of burning it.

Didn't even know they had an option. You'd think that wouldn't even be allowed anymore. Nevermind grandfathering.

January 15th, 2011, 07:15 PM
Or refining it.