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Neighborliness Up in Smoke

Hotel fireplace not cozy.


The Cooper Square Hotel is finally, mostly, open for business, but neighbors say its lobby fireplace is smoking them out. “I had to leave my apartment. I couldn’t breathe,” says Carrie Schneider, a resident of 207 East 5th Street, which sits directly behind the hotel and is apparently directly in the path of the fireplace’s exhaust. It’s not the first time neighbors have had a bone to pick with the futuristic tower, but the hotel has tried to work with them, closing the planned outdoor spaces at 9:30 p.m., for instance. Then the fireplace went on. Klaus Ortlieb, the hotel’s managing partner, says he has been monitoring the smoke. “When the wind doesn’t blow, it goes straight into the air,” he observes. But what if the wind blows toward 207? “You would have to have your windows wide open.” Schneider called 311 and complained, but Ortlieb says the fireplace was inspected and found to be up to code.

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