Greta Greene, the two-year-old hit by pieces of a falling brick facade at The Esplanade on West 74th street Sunday died Monday. Greene’s family lives in Kensington, Brooklyn; she was sitting with her grandmother in front of the Esplanade on Sunday around 11 a.m. when she was hit.
The shocking tragedy led to the Buildings Department demanding that the building’s owners immediately install a sidewalk shed around the building. Workers constructed the shed throughout the night, according to nearby residents.
There was no construction going on at the building at the time of the incident — the bricks may have fallen because they were water-logged, according to one account.
“The Department of Buildings said the 8th story ledge, made of porous terracotta material, may have become water-logged by rain causing it to crumble off the building,” according to CBS.
Other ledges at the building look ominous too: Rich Robbins took the photo above of a cracked window ledge from an apartment on the 74th street side of the same building. Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal says that the Buildings Department will be inspecting all of the windows at the building.
The building was in compliance with Local Law 11, which demands buildings have their facades inspected, according to Pix11. But the Buildings Department issued a violation to the owners for failing to maintain the property in a safe and code compliant manner.
“The owners did file a façade inspection report, as required by law, with the Department of Buildings in 2011. At the time, the engineer who conducted the inspection pronounced the conditions safe.
Under Local Law 11, all buildings over six stories high must have engineers conduct an inspection of the facades every five years. The owners of The Esplanade were compliant with that aspect of the law, and the next inspection report would be due next year, in 2016. But now the Department of Buildings is holding the owners accountable for not keeping track of potential problems with the façade that had cropped up.”
We also reported on Friday about debris falling off of a building on 104th and West End Avenue, and received a response from the Buildings Department on Monday. A piece of brick fell from a hanging scaffold on the 12th floor of the building and smashed into a parked car, according to Buildings Department spokesman Alexander Schnell. A sidewalk shed had been set up at the project, but was inadequate, he said. “The catch-all that was installed on the shed was inadequate and does not extend far enough to catch falling debris.”
The department issued two violations: for failing to safeguard public and property, and for installing a non-compliant sidewalk shed. A partial stop work order has also been issued for any exterior facade work.