One cell of a problem

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Elisa Cafaro battled Verizon to protect her daughter’s school, but now she’s fighting the cellular giant closer to home.

After months of protest by Cafaro and other PS 185 parents, Verizon agreed to remove cellular antennas from a building across the street from the Ridge Boulevard elementary — but the wireless provider put the antennas on a rooftop a block away from Cafaro’s 87th Street home.

“I protected my kid at school, but now I’ve got to be worried when she plays at home,” said Cafaro, whose 7- and 4-year-old’s bedrooms face the antennas.

“What can I do so that my kids aren’t guinea pigs for their radiation?”

Verizon and other cell companies maintain that cellular antennas are harmless.

But Cafaro — who is now considering selling her home because of its proximity to the antennas — wants them to be removed until data conclusively proves that they are safe.

Verizon spokesman David Samberg said that the cellular company chose the new site at 8701 Shore Rd. — a building that got its first batch of Verizon antennas in August — because it is a “location that worked from an engineering standpoint.”

PS 185 parents are relieved that their 11-month battle against Verizon is over, but they doubt that Cafaro’s next fight against the cellular provider will be successful.

“You have to stop it before it goes up,” said Tressa Kabbez, president of the PS 185 PTA. “What happened here is rare. Once they’re up, they’re almost impossible to deal with.”

The conflicts at PS 185 and 8701 Shore Rd. aren’t the first altercations between Bay Ridge residents and cellular antennas.

Ridgites have fought against cell towers since 2006, when protestors thwarted the construction of a Sprint/Nextel tower near St. Anselm’s School on 83rd Street. Last year, 81st Street residents protested against cell towers installed atop an apartment building.

Updated 5:09 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jack from Park Slope says:
They maintain their harmless but won't indemnify you because they claim you can't prove any harm.

Got that?
Oct. 6, 2008, 7:17 pm
Dave from Bay Ridge says:
What about TV broadcasts, cordless phones, wifi, bluetooth, fm modulators, radio broadcasts, satellite radio and TV, police radar, IR remote controls, security systems, etc....

people live, work and play amongst all those signals, often coming from neighbors and businesses that you have no control over. Are those waves harmful? - how do we know - prove it.

If radio waves of this type were harmful - we'd all have died a long time ago. Its nearly impossible to prove a negative but it seems pretty clear that radio waves at these levels are not at all harmful.
and the rantings of a single person with ZERO scientific evidence should not be allowed to alter the law. For all we know the radio waves are good for us.
Oct. 9, 2008, 9:56 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Dave probably has cell towers on his roof and is collecting a great rent
Do your homework and get informed-read about studies in other countries besides the U.S.
Oct. 9, 2008, 7:19 pm
Tumor from Bayridge says:
Hey Dave,

There is proof that all that you mentioned is harmful. We just choose to ignore it in the name of technology and progress. Many countries have a strict ban on placement of these other antennas.
Oct. 10, 2008, 8:41 am
Craig from Bay Ridge says:
I wonder if you are the same people who are upsent when you don't have cell coverage.

This is just like so many other things . . . people demand a service, but are unwilling to accept the requirements for that service. Much like the people who complain and complain about the DSNY processing center that handles their trash being located in their neighborhood.

If you do not own a cell phone, feel free to respond to this. Otherwise, you have to accept that the towers have to go somewhere.
Oct. 10, 2008, 6:21 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:

You still don't get the point!! So because people have to drive we have to keep on burning gas!!!! GEt WITHIT!!!
Oct. 22, 2008, 12:05 am
Kronkite from Park Slope says:
Dear Brownstoners,

I was laid off 2 months ago from my job in NYC. One month ago the work began on my roof not so far over my head. No one asked me how I felt about it. No one offered me anything. Not even a symbolic gesture. I found out that the landlord gets 2000 dollars for selling the airspace; our quality of life, and possibly our health. It actually works out that New Yorkers have less rights for the reason that many of us do not own our apartments. What about the pipes with wires traveling up the side of my living room just a few feet from me?

The building shakes anyway and is over the F train. I have been worried about the structure for a while. It took cranes to put several parts of the equipment. The extreme shaking and the banging has been life altering and troubling. Is this the American way? The pieces of equipment had to be lifted up with a crane and were nearly 2000 LBs.

It seems the only people on the internet who publish how safe these towers are, are government web sites.

The people working on the roof are sometimes there at 1:00 am and work during the weekend. They have a security system up there. The young guys working up there have the professional attitude of a modern army. Polite but with the weapons needed to make this work for them. The building has been occupied.

I have asked them several times when they will be finished. They say "all the work is pretty much done," and two weeks later they still are here twisting the building.

Is this what makes life good for us in America?


I wrote this for the Brownstoner today. When I got home I checked the building out and photographed some of the cracks and damage that Metro PCS has done to the building.

I found a heavy, sharp piece of stone right in front of the entrance of the building. If it had fallen on one of the tenants seriously harmed or worse. I have the piece of stone upstairs, a photographs and a witness. I could use some support from people who have dealt with this.

Feb. 11, 2009, 7:39 pm

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