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It’s a Green Gusher!

What are they drilling for on the Upper East Side?

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Wells are things in fables or rural areas—and, now, the Upper East Side. The red drilling rig on East 67th Street is digging developer Joseph Moinian a 1,500-foot-deep geothermal well to heat and cool the triplex at 655 Park Avenue he’s renovating with his wife, Nazee. The drilling started July 18 and should take about a month, irking the neighbors the whole time. (“They did the best they could, but it doesn’t really get rid of the noise,” said the manager of a doctor’s office next to the rig.)

Approximately 100 permits for geothermal wells have been requested in Manhattan over the past eight years, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, and about 35 wells are in use, including at Diane Von Furstenberg’s HQ, the General Theological Seminary, and a Chelsea apartment building. Ivan Pollack, one of the Moinians’ engineers, says that installing geothermal in Manhattan costs about $150,000 more than central air but pays for itself in seven or eight years. “It’s the next big frontier for the superrich,” he says. “Who’s going to be greener?” Still, the Moinians are going green for a more practical reason: 655’s co-op board members didn’t want a noisy new HVAC system disturbing their courtyard.

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