Thursday, July 31, 2008

314 12th Street Ordered to Stop Work.























"Hereby ordered to immediately stop all work at the above premises, because of a Violation of Section BC3301.2 of the Administrative Code and/or the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York or because work was being performed in a dangerous or unsafe manner."

Violation # 073108CEX02AD5 7/30/2008
DOB Property Profile
IMBY Development Watch: 314 12th Street


















































314 12th Street back in February before demolition.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Love Lucy's Vegas Style Auto Spa.
























Conveyorized Tunnel Wash-n-Ride

This is a good place to get your boat washed while visiting the dearly departed in the Green Wood Cemetery. It's right across the street. It's also one of the few places left that still allows you and your whole family to remain seated in the car while it's being cleaned. I always take my kids along for the ride and ask for the "extra specials por favor" not included in your basic wash. For a few bucks more they will squirt two crazy streams of pink and turquoise mystery fun foam on your front windshield. I'm not really sure what it is that I'd just paid for, but it definitely adds to that over the top visual presentation that I require from both my automobile hygienist and nouvelle cuisinartist.
At or should I say in Lucy's Vegas Auto Spa, nothing is going to be served up on a bed of coddled baby greens. No homemade ginger infused tire dressing. You get lathered cream sauce, heavy handed pools of soapy cream sauce.
Elsewhere in the pampered Park Slope, Mommy and Me Organic Car Wash Classes are being ergonomically taught straight out of Martha Stewart's Plating Handbook, but not at Vegas Auto Spa, and not my kids. They're getting their car washed Old World Wisconsin Salad Style. That's an entire head of ice burg lettuce served severed in two the same way Lucy washes my car... Slathered over in creamy chunky blue cheese dressing, and generously garnished with loads of dime sized bits of real bacon. Brushless wash? Synthetic boar's hair vent wands? Chamois? We simply don't need no stinking chamois!
Get Armor All'ed While-U-Wait $4.95
Warning: Watch Your Step! When you and your loved one's eventually get out of your car at the down stream vacuuming station, (that's extra) be prepared. The asphalt has acquired a very slippery glazing of sorts (not unlike the kitchen help in a Red Lobster seafood restaurant) from all the years of detailing chemical over spray.

Hint: Hard time keeping the little ones busy while the technicians finish vacuuming? Put their tiny fingers to work fishing the loose change from the debris clean out containers. Usually find enough for a Happy Meal.





























There's no place like home: 338 22nd St. in the Green Wood Heights















“If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Dorothy—"The Wizard of Oz."



































My heart's desire currently includes elaborate role playing scenarios involving vibrant Komatsu Excavators, their hydraulic bucket arms fully extended, resting in emerald fairytale-like bucolic settings. Of coarse my fetish isn't totally satisfying unless I'm also wearing my blue-and-white checkered gingham cotton pinafore dress just like the one little Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz...

Technicolored
Peeping through roughly hewn, um, peepholes, gosh that's just extra frosting on my big ol' red velvet cake. Not sure if I am willing to share with you just yet how all these empty cat food tins fit into the bigger picture...

Maybe it's your turn to share now. Cowardly Lion guy, you first.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stop Work Order Lifted at Armory Plaza.



Back to work for the Armory Plaza Players. Seems everything has been resolved to the Brooklyn Department of Building's satisfaction and they have rescinded their Stop Work Order. The architectural plans have been corrected to show the lot line windows and I believe enough tests were done on the section of the foundation wall in question to settle the "tangent piles not in line with grade beam" question.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cinder Blocked












400 15th Street Progress Report: Street wall shot. The red brick building on the far left is what remains of the Rojas Bakery, 404 15th Street, which currently has two living units over a commercial garage/bakery space. The side lot line windows of the two apartments are currently being bricked over. On the far right is 396 15th which was severely damaged during the construction of the new building's foundation and had to be extensively rebuilt. The front and side facades had to be removed and then replaced from the ground up. There are Stop Work Orders violations for both 396 and 404 in place currently.

















One down, one to go. Side windows being cinder blocked over.





















An old photo showing the the underpinning of 404 15th and the new poured foundation for 400 15th St. There is a single story extension in the rear of 404 that had to have its old brick wall completely removed and replaced with cinder block.














This older photo of the new building from the rear shows the building's enclosed parking garage which will be accessible from a ramp on 15th Street. There is a also a cellar space below this level that raises a few feet above grade.



















The back yard space covering the parking garage below.















It looks as if this 2nd story rear yard area will be used as a private terrace for the future condo apartments. This is a only a guess, but it looks as if the rear facade will be setback to the point where the cinder block wall begins to rise along the shared side lot line.
Just Wondering
If you recall this developer won his financial hardship appeal before the Board of Standards and Appeals after the rest of the south Slope was down zoned to R6B. (400 remains grandfathered in under the old R6 zoning rules.) Does anyone know if they have some kind of variance allowing for this kind of total lot coverage? I am referring to the 18 +/- foot high cinder block wall built on the rear lot line of the adjoining 16th Street properties. Could it be that they are not building as tall as they could under R6 in exchange for more lot coverage? Are there any rear yard requirements? Does the 30' set back rule still apply for this type of enclosed parking facility?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Unbuilding 406 15th Street?

On June 2nd 2008 a complaint #3266938 was registered with the Department of Buildings regarding: SIDE WALL OF NEW BUILDING APPEARS TO BE ERECTED OFF FOUNDATION WALL.

The next day, June 3rd, after the building was inspected a FULL STOP WORK ORDER violation was served.
Inspector Gregory Harris made these comments at the time:
"LOT LINE WINDOWS, TANGENT PILES NOT IN LINE WITH GRADE BEAM AS PER APPROVED PLANS SWO RESCIND BY.BORO COMM. APPROVAL"

DOB Violation #060208C0701GH / 247309


It appears that the ongoing DOB audit of the Armory Plaza building may be finding some inconsistencies. It now appears there is quite a bit of work needed to bring the building into compliance... on paper. Does this mean the newly amended plans retro-actively justify the as-built current structure? As for #8 on our list (lateral load resistance), they couldn't possible be talking about the remedial bracing installed in the backyard of 1502 8th Avenue could they? If so, will this structure be permanent?
The STOP WORK ORDER remains in effect.

















POST APPROVAL AMENDMENT FOR DOCUMENT 03
------------------ * PROFESSIONALLY CERTIFIED * ----------------- AUDIT: C - OPEN ISSUES 06/25/2008 Last Action: PLAN EXAM - APPROVED 07/02/2008 (P)

REVISED DRAWINGS SUBMITTED HEREWITH TO INDICATE THE FOLLOWING:
1. RELOCATION OF COLUMNS ON ALL FLOORS.


2. OFFSET OF EXTERIOR WALL 7' FROM FOUNDATION WALL.


3. CHANGE OF LOAD BEARING MASONRY ELEVATOR AND STAIRWELL WALLS TO STEEL FRAMED BRACING STRUCTURE.

4. REDUCTION OF NUMBER OF 1ST, 2ND AND PORTION OF 3RD FLOOR.

5. CHANGE OF LOAD BEARING MASONRY FRONT WALL TO STEEL FRAMED STRUCTURE.
6. ADDITION OF MACHINE ROOM AT A 1ST FLOOR LOCATION.

7. MODIFY ALIGNMENT OF TANGENT PILE FOUNDATION WALL FOR THE 12FT EAST-WEST RETURN PORTION FROM THE EASTERN PROPERTY LINE. THE LINER WALL AT THIS LOCATION WAS THICKENED FROM 4 INCHES TO 14 INCHES.

8. DIAGONAL ANGLE BRACING STRUCTURE ADDED TO FRONT EXTERIOR WALL FOR LATERAL LOAD RESISTANCE OF BUILDING.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In my back yard: Bumble Bees

Utopiary
This year has been a surprisingly spectacular one for our tiny Brooklyn back yard cottage garden. For some reason, our Mini Versailles is performing above and beyond all our wildest expectations. All season long the flowering bulbs and pernnials have consistantly looked down right magnificent, despite the lack of personal involvement on our part.

This past Spring with all the construction related damage to the garden's hardscape, we regretfully threw in the trowel, or the spade, or whatever gardeners throw in right before they give up and call in the cement truck and/or the nearest Astro-Turf dealer. Anticipating THE END TIMES were near, we just stopped gardening. Two green thumbs down, way down.

But now of coarse, seeing that she is growing so well on her own, we couldn't not help but to start and pull some weeds, stake up the occasional droopy stem, and cut back those invasive Flowering Quince suckers. Other than these last inning minor interventions, our own private Eden has been thriving on neglect.

Even our prized, mathematically precise topiary ring, composed of 8 miniature boxwood spheres (rigorously maintained in the past by thrice annual manicures) is more or less maintaining its meticulous geometry. Except for a single wayward patch of white Echinacea that has jumped the broken brick path and gone ahead and wedged itself between two of these tiny shrubs, every bush is staying out of each others way, and keeping their branches to themselves.

Perennial Drumstick Alliums by the dozens have attracted all manner of flying insects. Bees, hornets, and wasps fill the airspace above this purple patch like the skies surrounding Laguardia Airport on a Thanksgiving weekend.

During the early afternoon it's possible to count at least a half dozen Bumble Bees with in a single square yard of blossoms. They seem to prefer the nectar of the Coneflower and the newly opened Hosta blooms to anything else.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

You can click on any one of the photos below to enlarge. Check out the pollen grains attracted to the electrostatically charged hairs covering the bee's fuzzy body parts.







Thursday, July 10, 2008

Green Anoles on Vacation




















From a detail of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculptural master piece The Rape of Proserpina.

Below, a mating pair of Anolis Carolinensis.