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Yacht club claims adjacent hotel is ruining its fireplaces

Members of the exclusive New York Yacht Club are suing the city because they’re unable to use what they call their “spectacular fireplaces.”

The landmark limestone clubhouse at 37 W. 44th Street — which has welcomed Big Apple elite from financier J.P. Morgan to Mayor Mike Bloomberg — is only 85 feet high. The club sold the air rights, which include the chimney, to a developer in 1985.

Eight years later, the 300-foot Sofitel Hotel became its next-door neighbor. And the club says it has it has no way to vent the smoke and fumes. So now it’s venting in court.

The club sued the Sofitel last year, seeking $25 million in damages.

It argued that the law forces Sofitel to solve the sailors’ problem by taking care of its problems.

The suit was dropped after a judge told both sides to work out the problem themselves.

They failed to do so.

The club maintains the city has an obligation to force the hotel to solve the problem.

Sofitel’s lawyer, Gil Feder, said the club is blowing smoke, arguing it waited too long — over a decade after construction was completed — to demand that the hotel extend its venting system.

“We’re confident that the case will be dismissed,” Feder said.

But the yacht club’s lawyer, John Simoni, said in court papers filed Friday that it “has been unable to use its fireplaces as a result of Sofitel’s failure’’ to comply with city regulations.

“The club does not wish to tolerate such conditions any longer,” Simoni sniffs in the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.

The city also weighed in on the controversy.

A city Department of Buildings spokesman said, “The neighboring property owners need to work this out between themselves.

“It’s been 12 years since the taller building was completed. The department has no basis at this time to issue a violation against Sofitel regarding the chimney.”

Read the full article from the Source…

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