Deja Vu weekend.
Without the usual bells and whistles, the DoB quietly pasted Vacate Orders on the front door of 1504 8th Avenue this past weekend. Remember the infamous Vacate Order of July 2006 had women and children, with all their belongings in tow, thrown out onto the sidewalk, scrambling to find new places to live. Unlike the first time, there was no Red Cross van parked out front, and no Department of Buildings representatives to answer questions and promissing, well just promissing.
So time has run out for the sole surviving holdout tenant, who remained in the building despite a previous vacate order, a homeless crackhead invasion, and even a life threatening basement gas leak. Everyone else decided it was too dangerous to remain in their apartments, even after the DoB reversed its decision about whether the building was safe to inhabit, by removing the Order to Vacate and installing crack monitors on the damaged walls. (We at IMBY question the timing of this most recent Vacate Order. With the highly anticipated multimillion dollar production of "Cracked, the Musical" staring Britney Spears and Johnny Knoxville scheduled to open on Broadway next week, it appears to be no more than a blatant publicity stunt.)
Plywood now covers all the windows except for this third floor tenant's apartment. Up until recently, festive Christmas lights were visible in these windows.
The owner of 1504 8th Avenue, Arnold Rosenshein, received a second violation from the Brooklyn Buildings Department on December 27th, 2006 for "FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CRACKS THROW OUT FACADE" the inspector specifically concerned about "VERTICAL, DIAGONAL, AND STEP CRACKS ON LEFT AND REAR FACADE"
On January 8th, 2007 the most recent violation was issued: RE: CRACKS AT SIDE OF BLDG STRUCTURAL STABILITY CHECK REQUIRED......
"CRACK FROM CELLAR TO TOP OF PARAPET ( 4 FLOORS) CRACK AT BASE
APPROX 1 1/2" TO 1/2" AT TOP CRACKS AT REAR WALL"
Dominoes begin to fall?
The Pastor of the Memorial Baptist Church, Mr. Steven Christopher, is concerned about the sudden overnight formation of a large, vertical crack running the entire length of the northwestern most corner of his building. He recalls the fact that during the recent pile driving work, not more than 10 feet from this corner, vibrations could be felt throughout the entire church.
Located in this same area, an exterior set of concrete stairs has begun to pull away from the main building by as much as several inches. Another stairwell leading to the basement shows signs of recent damage to the stone foundation. If you were to draw a line parallel to the construction fence beginning with the large crack on the sidewall of 1504, and then moving out and along 8th Avenue towards the church (1506 8th Avenue), it ends up almost exactly where the new cracks in the wall of Memorial Baptist have occured. (Large sink holes continue to form along this fence line.)
An engineer has looked at the damage and he believes it to be active, recent movement. Further examination will be necessary to determine the extent and depth of these new cracks. It took only 5 short month for the cracks in 1504's walls to go from hairline to "imminently perilous to life". We can only pray, that the Building's Department gets proactive and starts spending its time and limited manpower monitoring the contractors work practices in the future, and less time spent checking crack monitors after the damage occurs.