Black Seed Bagels’ Fiery Exhaust Killing Quality of Life for Residents on Elizabeth Street

Posted on: June 18th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Black Seed Bagels remains a critical darling on the foodie circuit a year into its tenure at 170 Elizabeth Street (we may have disagreed). In fact, the popular shop was so successful in its first nine months that it announced expansion plans to include a second location in the former De Robertis pastry shop on First Avenue.

But back on the Elizabeth Street home front, the bakery – co-founded by Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman in 2014 – has drawn the ire of its immediate neighbors. You see, the wood-fired bagel oven onsite requires an exhaust system that is reportedly driving folks living in the vicinity crazy. The equipment is so disruptive, apparently, that some are even calling it a “fire breathing dragon.” And with good reason.

From what we understand, exhaust emissions from Black Seed reek of fire and are carried throughout the block most hours of the day. Some estimates place bagel baking operations as lasting roughly 20 hours per day.

“We worry that our building is on fire,” one resident tells us. “The fumes even permeate the laundromat; it is literally like standing next to a campfire — great when outdoors, not so great when indoors.”

Eight buildings, in all, are allegedly affected by the invisible fumes.

The Department of Environment Protection, for its part, did visit the premises numerous times. However, as luck would have it, inspections never occurred when the “west wind blows these fumes into our homes.”

Even though a summit was arranged last year between owners Bernamoff and Kliegman, select neighbors, DEP, and Community Board 2 (including District Manager Bob Gormley), the outcome was futile. One suggestion floated was a scrubber, equipment employed to reduce the pollution from exhaust systems. Response given was that it is too costly to install. Maybe they coulda thought of that beforehand.

Numerous letters and emails were reportedly sent to Bernamoff and Kliegman in the interim, yet without much courtesy of a response.

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