Required Renovations: Tribeca Bridge Temporarily Closes for Repairs

Stuyvesant temporarily closed its second-floor entrance due to maintenance on the Tribeca Bridge.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Stuyvesant’s second-floor entrance has reopened after being closed due to a routine painting of the Tribeca Bridge. The bridge must be painted periodically to ensure that it does not rust. However, due to the paint’s strong smell, the school administration closed the bridge entrance, and the main entrance on Chambers Street was opened as an alternative. The bridge is public and not under the authority of the NYC Department of Education, which means that students and staff were still allowed to walk across the bridge.

Though the administration decided to close the entrance and despite circulating rumors of workers using an illegal chemical, the paint did not possess any major health risks. “The scope of work and materials meets all safety requirements,” Assistant Principal of Security, Health, and Physical Education Brian Moran said in an e-mail interview.

Additionally, Principal Eric Contreras was deeply committed to ensuring the air was safe, walking on the bridge every day to test how intense the smell is. An employee from an independent company measured the air cleanliness using a device that ranged from zero to 50, with 50 being the most harmful.“We asked Battery Park City to send an independent company to test the air,” Contreras said. “The level never went above 11 on the bridge.” He indicated that the air was more than safe for students and pedestrians.

Instead, the administration made the choice to temporarily close the bridge entrance in order to be courteous to students and employees of the school who preferred to avoid the intense paint smell. “Though we had the air tested as safe, some people felt that the odors were offensive,” Contreras said. “We are respectful of people’s feelings about that, specifically for the adults [who] work near the entrance, such as the safety agents and people in the front offices.”

Safety was Contreras’s main priority while the bridge entrance was closed, as students had to cross the West Side Highway in order to enter the building. “We were able to get two additional crossing guards; we asked for extra school safety and created a posting assignment so guards are at each [street] corner during entry and exit,” Contreras said.

The administration also worked with Battery Park City to ensure that the painting did not occur during school arrival and dismissal times, allowing students to reach the building safely. Contractors working on the bridge repairs were compliant with the administration's requests. “The contractors have accommodated our school by ceasing work during high traffic times and working on weekends as much as possible,” Moran said in an e-mail interview.

After weeks of renovations, the scaffolding and tarps were removed from the bridge, with the bridge entrance reopening on February 11th. “Even though it was a slight inconvenience, there were not really any shortcomings to the new entrance plan,” sophomore Angelina Mustafa said.

While some students perceived the alternate entrance as an inconvenience, others tried to see it in a positive light. “Some students said they enjoy[ed] the downstairs exit to get lunch because it’s closer to Terry’s and Ferry’s,” Contreras said with a laugh.