Wednesday, March 13, 2013

She's back!

Big shout out to fellow Brooklyn Blogger One More Folded Sunset who 
on more than one occasion, enlightened me.

Betty Rubble is back. 
She's been called a house wrecker of ill repute, the royal mother of illegal mechanical demolition-her drag queen names might as well be Miss Blanche DeBris or Miss Eva Destruction- but most South Slopers know her simply as Marie Grasso, MMG Demolition Inc. the  ECB unpaid fine scofflaw-ess.

This time she's the documented Superintendent/Site Safety Manager for Best Buy Demo, Inc.  The 2010 start up company NYC permitted to complete the hand demolition of 315 12th Street in the South Slope.  Not sure how someone with a herstory of blatantly disregarding the well being of the public and its property can be licensed as a site safety manager.... One of the many  requirements is to "Have good moral character so as to not adversely impact upon your fitness to perform the duties and responsibilities" of a safety manager.

Ms. Grasso's MMG Demolition Company is famous for what DOB leadership refer to as having a "disruptive business model".   According to ECB violation records, MMG works without permits. MMG forgets to officially notify the neighbors when they are to start work. MMG doesn't post their contractor identification info out on the construction fence-Maybe because MMG doesn't know how to build a fence that will actually support the DOB paper work and remain standing for any length of time before falling over and breaking pedestrian's collarbones.
MMG doesn't provide workers with safety equipment and harnesses. MMG uses unlawful scaffolding and uncertified workers to install scaffolding. MMG works against DOB stop work orders. MMG works on weekends and after hours.
Housekeeping? The sites are often crowded and piled high with combustible debris. Sidewalk sheds? Dumpster permits? MMG doesn't use any means of dust control. MMG uses contaminated fill.  MMG will often use a back hoe with out proper mechanical demo permits. MMG fails to safeguard neighboring persons and property. MMG routinely forgets to water proof adjoining properties after exposing their side walls and foundations to the elements.
Laid Over

Site Deconstruction Supervisor Grasso actually had the honor of having a Bad Actors bill named after her-"The Grasso Bill"- introduced by Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx).  Int. 0379-2010 is a Local Law proposed to amend the administrative code of the city of New York. It sought to bar the city from granting permits to contractors and developers who have outstanding fines, civil penalties or judgments greater than $25,000.  These ECB charges or fines can be from a variety of sources not just Buildings violations.  Currently the DOB can't with hold permits for unpaid fines, but they could if they were given the power to. 

 Unfortunately, after testimony from just about everybody from ConEd to Big Real Estate and the Construction Industry the bill was "tabled" in 2011 as being too complicated to enforce and to disruptive to the forward economic progress of our great City.  That leaves hundreds of millions of dollars of ECB debt uncollected.  Here's a proposal for ECB fines generated during new construction...Deny issuing Certificates of Occupancy to any new building with any unpaid judgements against them.   

click to engorge, Marie Grasso on the job

 Up on the roof of 315 12th Street, a worker dismantles.

IMBY Archives:  Wrecking Havoc-A partial list of unpaid fines can be found here.

Link to testimony Committee on Housing and Buildings  INT. 0379-2010

Monday, March 11, 2013

4th Avenue Concrete Giant Shadows Last Remaining Wood Frames.

548 Fourth Avenue. Architect Felix Tambasco designed this R8A zoned 9 story 93 foot tall apartment building going up quickly now on the corner of 15th Street in Gowanus.  We're looking at a sum total of 26,159 square feet divided into 15 dwelling units as well as a 691sq ft community facility space, and a required commercial/retail space of 1,697 sq ft at the street level. 

As seen from directly across Specially Enhanced Fourth Avenue standing in the parking lot of the now bankrupt for almost a year, now shuttered  Strauss Auto Center.  No plans have been filed by XYZ Property for this mega block long development site as of yet.   

548's zoning diagram

Star Spangled Banner Yet Waves
Still occupied, the well maintained 137 15th St. pictured on the left clad in patriotic red siding and its sister the already doomed to destruction 139 15th St. slam up against the new 9 story development.  ACRIS shows 139 15th, the 22 by 100 foot deep property, traded hands in 2010 for $330,000... A speculators bargain I would think considering same size lots farther up the Slope go for at least two to three times that price. 

Still standing, BEST Squad approved a mechanical demo permit of all things way back in December of 2010.  A prerequisite to extermination, rat bait stations and posted yellow warning signs.  Original? floor to ceiling double hung windows and what remains of a wooden porch and concrete stoop.  Some kind of cellar exists below the house with additional windows and door, now boarded up and filled with mud. 

A front facade covered with asphalt shingles, two brackets left exposed while the entire cornice has been hermetically sealed in a layer of tin flashing.

Second story window details. Nice bracket...

139 15th Street.  Plans have been approved for a 50' tall, four story with penthouse, 8 family apartment building to contain some 10,720 square feet of floor area. No off-street car or bike parking is required.

Schedule A for 139 15th St.

137 15th Street is highlighted in red.  
 In this 1924 aerial photograph showing the blocks just below 4th Avenue you can see the row of attached frame houses.  Fourth Avenue is considered the border between the neighborhoods of Gowanus and Park Slope South. 
For a historic look back at this corner's glory days go to this IMBY link to see the wonderfully simple Norwegian  Evangelical Free Church.  
As always Click to enlarge photos.

The same aerial shot taken in 2010 which shows the corner apartment building, 548 4th Avenue, demolished and leveled.  139 and 137 15th St. are the two remaining wood frames left from the original row of nine. Click to enlarge.

EC-1  link to zoning junk