NYC cafe aromas upset upstairs neighbors

Jan. 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Residents of the apartments above a trendy New York cafe said their residences have been filled with overpowering food aromas from the eatery.

People living in some of the 157 A.T. White Riverside Apartments above the Iris Cafe in Brooklyn said the eatery, which opened in 2009, lacks a ventilation system, so the business fills their domiciles with the smells of coffee, beef jerky, baked goods and other food items, the New York Post reported Monday.

"It's been horrible," said Ida Cigara, who lives above the takeout shop with her husband, Jimmy, and their 5-month-old son.

"When I was pregnant last year, I was puking every day from the smell, and now we're concerned the odors are going to cause our son respiratory problems. His room smells so bad -- even the stuffed animals stink of food."

The Department of Environmental Protection sent inspectors out in May, June and September of last year to investigate complaints and the business was fined a total $2,400 for "strong odors" described by an inspector as "offensive."

Salah Hamden, co-owner of the cafe, said he is not legally obligated to install a ventilation system because he cooks with an electric stove.

"I want to be a good neighbor and am always willing to talk, but if I install a ventilation system, then other people in the building might complain it's too noisy," he said.

Hamden said he lives above the cafe and is not bothered by the aromas, but other neighbors speaking on condition of anonymity said they often find the odors offensive, particularly when something is burned.

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