Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Demerara Engineering, PLLC to Supervise Construction of Armory Plaza, Brooklyn


Barbie Princess Fairytopia MiniKingdom Playset by Mattel now features this cute pastel colored Lil' Tomboyz Excavator from its Princess @ Work Collection. Pit optional.

Who you all gonna call when the vibrations return?


160 PEARL STREET,, New York, NY 10005
Professional Title:
License Number:
Filing Representative:
Ali/Vargas Nazeema/Roger
Bricolage Designs
6321 New Utrecht Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219

Thursday, March 22, 2007

406 15th Street Armory Plaza Excavation

The Principle of Superposition and Original Horizontality

Starting each week day at 7am, semi-trailer dumping rigs and smaller sized dump trucks wait in line for their chance to fill up with dirt. It doesn't take the excavator very long. Just a few minutes before they are full and another truck moves in to take its place. 300,000 cubic feet of misplaced soil that needs to be removed. So goes life living on the edge of what may be the largest open-pit mining operation in the entire South Slope region of these United States of America. Did you know that New York State is one of only 15 states that claims an official state soil? Who said Honeoye? Thats right! Only It's pronounced "Hay-e-a-yeah.” Our Honeoye series consists of very deep, well-drained soils formed in glacial till which is strongly influenced by limestone and calcareous shale. They are nearly level to very steep soils on convex upland till plains and drumlins. The Honeoye soil is in the Alfisols soil order and is classified as fine-loamy, mixed, active, mesic Glossic Hapludalfs. Gesundheit! God Blessed Nicolas Steno.

I can't recall ever seeing any recent building construction utilizing this particular foundation technique, then again not every new development in Brooklyn has three levels of underground parking. Most of what you see around is the standard poured in place concrete foundation cellar walls. So far the pilings seem to be holding their ground. In the mean time the earth on the 16 Street side of the fence is thawing out and continues to settle down.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blogmaster "Jon Brownstoner" De-cloaks.


Nom de plume?

The Brooklyn based blogosphere nearly collapsed into its self today with news that some 37 year old, white, married dude is actually... believe it or not, The Jon Brownstoner.
According to an article in the March 26th edition of The New York Observer, some guy named "Jonathan Butler" has come forward claiming to actually be the real Jon Brownstoner.'s message boards exploded with dozens of anonymous comments all claiming, "Not fair, I'm Jon Brownstoner!". Among those besides Mr. Butler who are also laying claim to the title: Eletricgreek, Crown Heights Proud(the real one), and something named linusvanpelt.

Labs was able to procure this satellite image of what we believe is the bonafide, never-ever before seen head of Mr. Brownstoner.

The question on every one's mind right now... "Hey Jon, wow... who did you use to redo the brownstone on your front stoop? It looks great!"

Monday, March 19, 2007


As the excavator begins removing the ground, some 300,000 cubic feet before it's all over, the steel foundation piles are being revealed. So far I can't report hearing any melancholy cries, loud weeping, or gnashing of teeth coming from the pit.

The earth moves first along the rear lot line, pictured above.

Pictured above. The Eighth Avenue line. The Baptist church is on the far right. 1504 8th Ave. is on the far left.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rebar and Pile Caps

La piece de resistance

The pile caps have been poured and work begins on removing the load-o-soil that has dominated the centre of the site. The plywood fence at the bottom of the photo divides the construction from the rear yards of the homes along 16th Street.

Within the plywood forms, an artistic arrangement of re-bar awaits concrete. The Port-o-John gives one a sense of scale.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Like a virgin, being touched for the very first time.

"When the little dwarfs came home at night they found Snow-White lying upon the ground. No breath came from her parted lips, for she was dead. They lifted her tenderly and sought for some poisonous object which might have caused the mischief, unlaced her frock, combed her hair, and washed her with wine and water, but all in vain-dead she was and dead she remained. They laid her upon a bier, and all seven of them sat round about it, and wept as though their hearts would break,"

-From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


In the familiar animated Disney version of Snow White, the Prince, already deeply in love with Snow White, arrives in his search for her, raises the lid of the glass coffin, and offers "Love's first kiss''. She then awakens after three days with great delight into his arms as the proprietary forest animals and Dwarfs rejoice at her resurrection.

In the original Grimm Brothers' slightly different version of the story, a Prince just passing through the forest, sees the beautiful maiden in the coffin, and persuades the Dwarfs to let him carry it off with him to his kingdom. When they stumble over a shrub while carrying the coffin, the piece of poisoned apple is dislodged from Snow White's throat, and she awakens to his open arms and a declaration of love from the Prince follows.

In the Disney version the story ends with the wicked Queen falling off a cliff after being struck by lightening. The Grimm Brothers have the old hag attending Miss White's wedding, but then dancing to her death in a pair of red-hot iron shoes.

Prince Karl Fischer
On February eighth two thousand and seven, building permits were once again renewed by Prospect Terrace, LLC on that very troubled lot, 1638 Eighth Avenue. Five years in the unmaking, this sleeping condominium has been poisoned by unsafe and defective excavation and shoring work. Residents on Prospect Avenue have complained about lost earth, sinking back yards, defective retaining walls, and excessive vibrations that were judged bad enough by the D.o.B. to shut the pile driving down. Oh, and the water...

If Snow White teaches us anything, it's that if we wait passively, quietly, patiently, remaining absolutely still in our prettiest dresses, then someday our Prince will come and everything will end once more, happily ever after.

Forgiveness blanket

Snow flakes falling from the sky like unharnessed day laborers. What yonder magic "a two inch thick blanket" of fresh snowfall has to transform a shit hole into a pristine winter wonderland of possibilities. Mother Nature may have thrown a white tarp over this frozen corpse, laid out between Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place in the South Slope, but now I'm feeling rejuvenated once more. I haven't felt this giddy since I drank all the "water" from my son's Curious George snow globe. Regardless of my past mistakes, my flaws and failures, I feel like anything is possible. Wonder Works Construction, all is forgiven.

Monday, March 05, 2007

PILE CAPS Everyone!

If I had a hammer, or a Pile Integrity Tester

Beginning last Monday February 26th, workers began building the plywood molds, that when filled with concrete, will form what's referred to in the millinery trade as "pile caps". Pile caps are large concrete blocks into which the heads of the sunken piles are embedded. The forms pictured below are on the rear property line. It doesn't look like they are being embedded though. It looks like they are being set, more or less, on top of the pile heads. These pile caps are supposed to distribute the loads evenly amongst its neighbors. Let's hope that what's known as low strain impact testing was performed by the on site engineer to determin if any cracks or voids exist in the burried foundation piles before further construction begins. All it takes is a single blow from a hand held hammer and some complex math according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM D5882-00)

The drilling rig is back in action boring holes directly (let's say 10 feet) behind 1502 8th Avenue. It looks and sounds like they are using the "drill inside the pipe method" as specified by the Department of Buildings. Somewhere on the site there is or there is not a forensic engineer from the DoB over-seeing all of this work. Listening to the familiar pounding of metal against metal makes me think the engineers are out sick today.