Plaintiffs plan appeal of Supreme Court decision.
This story was written by Jeff Lipton.
Members of a West End gym can continue to grunt their way to a healthier lifestyle, according to a recent decision by a Nassau County Supreme Court judge.
Judge John Galasso sided with Crossfit King of the Beach, at 901 West Beech St., ruling that their neighbors, who filed a lawsuit
, failed to prove the gym to be a nuisance due to excessive noise.
In his Oct. 9 decision, Galasso denied neighbors’ requests for a restraining order or preliminary injunction against Crossfit King.
“Obviously, we are very happy about the judge’s decision,” said Dr. Sean Pastuch, co-owner of the gym. “We really believe there was no reason for the lawsuit to be brought in the first place.”
Pastuch said he has made several renovations to the building’s structure to help alleviate neighbors’ concerns, but it was still not good enough for them.
One of the plaintiffs, Joseph Hamlet, of Hamlet Investment Services, which adjoins the gym, said the noise and vibrations arising from Crossfit King have been nerve-wracking ever since they opened last Oct. 24. He said the gym’s clients slam down the weights and kick the common wall they share, shaking the walls, causing their commercial neighbors emotional distress and harming their business.
“They do handstands and fling their bodies against the common wall,” Hamlet said. “It’s a nuisance that has been going on way too long. The place does not belong here. They need to be in a free-standing building or in an industrial area.”
Hamlet said the goal of the lawsuit, which was filed in April and calls for unspecified punitive damages, was not meant to put Crossfit King out of business, but to change the way they operate.
But Pastuch said if the gym was forced to change how they do business, they might as well be shut down.
Crossfit is a relatively recent type of workout. Instead of focusing on monotonous exercise routines chained to gym equipment, it involves strengthening the body so it is able to handle routine day-to-day activities, Crossfit officials said. For example, some of the workouts involve squatting down and lifting something heavy – the same physical maneuvers used to lift a young child from the floor.
Pastuch said his clients are professionals – police officers, firefighters and teachers – who are not troublemakers.
“These are the type of people you want your kids to be like,” he said.
Hamlet said it’s not about the clients they attract but the gym’s failure to quell the noise. He said even though neighbors have lodged around 50 complaints with the Long Beach police and buildings departments, only a few summonses have been issued.
“We are not getting any satisfaction,” said Hamlet. “The real story is why aren’t the police stepping up to the plate and issuing more summonses?”
According to Long Beach Police Department spokesman Sgt. Eric Cregeen, Crossfit was issued two summonses for “unreasonable noise” on April 4 and June 4.
“We’ve had a dozen calls for noise complaints at 901 W. Beech St. since June 6,” he said.
Hamlet also complained that the gym uses the street as an extension of the business, with clients working out with medicine balls and other equipment.
“It’s a problem when up to 15 people are running up and down West Beech Street and the sidewalk, and you know how congested this street is,” Hamlet said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Hamlet added that the gym’s members used to run with weights over their heads, but that has stopped.
Hamlet said they plan to appeal Judge Galasso’s decision.
“We’re prepared to defend ourselves if we have to again,” said Pastuch, whose gym boasts about 200 members and runs physical fitness classes that run about an hour long.
Pastuch said Crossfit King has tried hard to be a good neighbor.
“We love the West End and we would rather have an amicable relationship with our neighbors,” he said. “We were the new people on the block. We did not want to be the hated people on the block.”
Along with Hamlet, other plaintiffs in the lawsuit were Mishoir Murdakhayev, who runs Top Hat barbershop two doors from the gym, and Robert Moore, who lives in an apartment in the same building. Named as defendants in the suit were the building’s owner, Isabella Realty, Crossfit owner Michael Abgarian and Pastuch, who is also the gym’s chiropractor.
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