Today my good neighbors sent me over the following photo.
If you look closely at the base of the purple backhoe you will see a hole with water in it. My neighbor tells me that no mater how many times the contractors fill in the hole with dirt, everytime they return to dig it back up, it quickly fills with water.
There have always been rumors of underground streams in the area.
Another construction site a block and a half away at 1638 8th Avenue has been sarcastically named by area residents who live upon its shores, "Lake Windsor". Consider this notation from the Official Hunting and Fishing Guide to Brooklyn. "Nestled in a perfectly pristine part of the Southern Slope sleeps Lake Windsor, one of the lesser known Middle Finger Lakes of the Borough of Brooklyn. A wide array of paddling and rowing opportunities await for those who would like to take life a little slower. Now is a perfect time to purchase one of the many vacation homes and seasonal cottages that grace its shores... if you're gosh darn lucky enough! There is even the full service G&Y Marina/Bodega just a block away offering live bait, beer, and seasonal day trips by licensed professional guides."
Locals have been fighting the comercialization of the area for years sighting the recently opened WEEKI WACHEE WINDSOR LIVE MERMAID SHOW with its infamous "underwater topless tuba act" as proof that developers don't know what the area really needs. Been lots of crazy talk go'n round 'bout negotiating the Bottled Water Rights to the underground spring with Snapple, but I hear the water tastes a little bit like mermaid pee.
1638 Eighth Avenue between Windsor Place and Prospect Avenue.
This land had been empty for decades, appearently for a good reason. The current developers, and there have been several in the last years, seem to have more or less given up on trying to address the problems with the site. It has been stagnant for some time.
Closer to home, A similar building excavation just one house away at 400 15th Street had water sitting in it for weeks before they pumped it out. In that case it was really too late as the next door building, 396 15th Street, literally cracked in half and had to have emergency iron work performed to keep it from falling over. The folks at IMBY really need to have a talk with the owner of 396 15th as he has somehow secured an order of protection against the developer of 400 15th street forbidding him from working within 15 feet of his property. I understand that recent testimony at the NY Board of Standards and Appeals(B.S.A.) discussed the financial hardship to the developer that this groundwater is causing. We really need to take more blogging field trips.
As for the land at 406-408 15th Street, the truth of the matter is that if you only do a couple of engineering core/soil samples of what's under the pavement of the parking lot you will never really know what you will find. Samples taken to the full depth of the excavation and beyond, not just below the surface. Water? I am not sure what affect redirecting an undergroud stream will have on the watertable of the surrounding neighborhood. I am no geotechnical engineer, but I wonder who will manage/moniter possible surface subsidence once the three sub cellars have been dug out and lined with cement. What about damage to underground utilities if movement occurs? Shifting foundations? Raising the water table 12 inches in all likelihood will grant me 24 hour swimming privileges to my new basement wading pool. Does anyone at the DoB have any experience with STRIP MINING?
The contractors did however find and remove the large tank(s) located at the front of the lot. This past January they dug up some kind of burried tank, cut it in half, and had it trucked away. By the way, do you need a special demo permit for this kind of work? An environmental study of the surrounding soil, perhaps? Come to think of it, I did see some Giant Asian Long Horn Beetles crawl up out of the hole and scamper over to Prospect Park.