Last year, Greenwich Village’s Quad Cinema—the independent movie house which opened in 1972 as the city’s first multiplex—reopened after a much needed, nearly two-year renovation. Mayor Bill de Blasio even proclaimed its reopening day of April 13th, 2017, as “Quad Cinema Day.” Unfortunately, it’s now in danger of being closed down for good due to a bunch of noise complaints from neighbors.
The Real Deal reports that the four-screen venue is suing to block the co-op board of 30-32 West 13th Street from canceling its lease at 34 West 13th Street (their current lease runs through 2126).
It received two notices of default last July relating to “intolerable noise” from theater speakers and an unpaid bill from a subcontractor. According to court records, Asad Rahman, a tenant at the second floor of apartment building 30-32 West 13th Street, repeatedly complained of noise coming from the theater.
Rahman’s apartment apparently sits above theaters “A” and “D” of the multiplex, and he says the theater speakers and HVAC equipment were to blame for the noise. The cinema has called his complaints “completely unsubstantiated” (they argued he complained when no movies were playing underneath his apartment or when HVAC equipment wasn’t running), but the theater has taken steps to reduce the noise.
Of course, this is partially what those much-needed renovations were for—among the upgrades included extensive soundproofing of the theater. In addition to that, the theater also stopped using subwoofers, and agreed on a compromise in which they turned down the default volume of movies to a “Level 4” out of 10, described in a legal filing as “a very reasonable, if not too soft, sound level.” Since enacting all of that, noise complaints from neighbors mostly stopped, except for ones from Rahman (who the Times points out works as an employee of the air-conditioning company that services the venue).
“Considering the robust support the Quad has received from the surrounding communities and the movie industry, the co-op’s attempt to hold the Quad in default of its lease is wholly without merit and is being vehemently opposed,” a spokesperson for the cinema’s ownership, the Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation, said in a statement.