WEST END AVENUE CLOSED OFF SUNDAY AFTER BRICKS FALL

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Photo of the section of the building that is undergoing repair work by Jake Sigal.

Bricks fell from 697 West End Avenue at 94th street during a construction job on Sunday morning, and two blocks of West End Avenue were closed off as workers made repairs. 1010 Wins reported that workers were in the process of removing some bricks when some of the facade fell.

“They were taking bricks off, but some fell that weren’t supposed to fall, so fortunately the scaffolds were set up here and caught them,” Tim Conroy of the Office of Emergency Management said.

The bricks landed on the scaffolding and none hit the street.

Fire officials told ABC that rain may have loosened some of the bricks.

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Photo of 697 West End Avenue by Jay Bergman.

The repair and safety work continued all day. “The bricks fell this morning and I noticed half an hour ago that work is going on from a trestle to make sure the rest of the brickwork is secure,” Toinette wrote.

Emergency officials closed off West End from 93rd to 95th street as they assessed the situation. In April, a complainant said that a large piece of rock from the building had fallen onto a vehicle, Buildings Department records show.

697 bricks
Photo by Jake Sigal.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. wombatNYC says:

      This building has had scaffolding for a very long time. What takes so long to complete the repointing of these buildings?

    2. DP says:

      And more bricks fell Monday afternoon. DOB is supposed to be back today.

      • dannyboy says:

        I now have very few points of entrance and exit from my home that are even relatively safe.

        Also, I drove the entire length of WEA Avenue today and observed chaos.

        Nice goings on.

    3. AC says:

      I firmly believe that much of this results from the City’s introduction of Local 11 in the late 90’s and subsequently allowing Architects/Engineers to certify their own inspection work.

      Back in the day, the city of NY (DOB) was responsible for façade inspection. As a result of cutbacks, the responsibility was shrewdly shifted over to property owners. There was nothing wrong with introducing this logic – after all, the Owner owns the bldg. The error was when owners were allowed to hire inspectors who could certify their OWN work (imagine a student grading his own exam).

      The City is suppose to ‘spot check’ the work/inspection performed. Unfortunately, the City of NY doesn’t have enough manpower to spot check all of the on-going façade inspections. And because fines and punishments are so minimal, the owners/architects/engineers are willing to take the risk of performing substandard work.

      West End Avenue seems to have a high rate of such incidents. Follow the paperwork trail.

      • I would also add that this building is almost 90 years old according to NYC records. The weather and pollution over the years may have made the façade extremely fragile and any kind of work can cause collapse. Working high up also has its problems where safety is concerned.

      • dannyboy says:

        They did the Cost/ Benefit Analysis:

        1. Cheaper to let the Owners inspect (CHECK)
        2. Owners farm it out to avoid liability (CHECK)
        3. City reduces Spot Checks (Check)
        4. Death and injury (Check is smaller than costs avoided by 1-3.

        Who are these people?

      • Indpendent says:

        Unfortunately, the City of NY doesn’t have enough manpower to spot check all of the on-going façade inspections.

        Yet the City somehow has enough manpower[1] and available funding to construct a $1.8 million designer skate park[2] and to renovate a “field house” at a cost of $75-$100,000. Those are but two out of what are no doubt many projects that the City apparently deems a higher priority than repairing such tripping hazards as loose and crumbling stairs (the dangerous ruins of a disintegrated staircase happen to lie at the very location of the “field house”, no less), potholes and severely broken-up pavement.

        And let’s remember that this is our money, as taxpayers, that we are talking about. That is true anytime one speaks of government spending.

        NOTES:
        [1]If the existing skate park is less-than acceptably safe, then close it completely, fix all of the glaring hazards in Riverside Park such as the ones I cited above, ensure adequate inspections of buildings as per “AC”s comment above, and then, if there is enough money left, renovate the skate park. Same for all recreational facilities. Safety first.

        [2]Wouldn’t “manpower” be considered a “sexist” “microaggresion”? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Far from it.

      • Independent says:

        Unfortunately, the City of NY doesn’t have enough manpower to spot check all of the on-going façade inspections.

        Yet the City somehow has enough manpower[1] and available funding to construct a $1.8 million designer skate park[2] and to renovate a “field house”* at a cost of $75-$100,000. Those are but two out of what would appear to be many projects that the City apparently deems a higher priority than repairing tripping hazards such as loose and crumbling stairs, potholes and severely broken-up pavement.

        (*The dangerous ruins of a disintegrated staircase happen to lie at the very location of said “field house”, no less)

        NOTES:
        [1]If the existing skate park is less-than acceptably safe, then close it completely, fix all of the glaring hazards in Riverside Park such as the ones I cited above, ensure adequate inspections of buildings as per “AC”s comment above, and then, if there is enough money left, renovate the skate park. Same for all recreational facilities. Safety first.

        [2]Wouldn’t “manpower” be considered a “sexist” “microaggresion”? Not that I’m complaining. Far from it…

      • Kenneth says:

        AC,
        You should actually read LL11 and understand what it entails and requires before you state things as fact. Architects and engineers don’t certify their own work under this law. They carefully inspect a building facade of more than 5 stories (and more recently also balcony/terrace railings) every 5 years for defects and then certify the building as “Safe”, “Unsafe” or “Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program” sometimes called “SWARMP”. “Unsafe” requires immediate repairs, “SWARMP” requires a plan to abate the defects within a specific time-frame and “Safe” means no work is necessary. LL11 inspections are not money makers architects and engineers unless defects are found AND they are hired to plan and oversee the contractors work (not their own work). Certifying a unsafe building as safe or certifying it without a proper inspection (with binoculars and at least one scaffold drop from the street elevation)is both unlawful and a good way to loose your professional license forwever.

        • dannyboy says:

          Let me understand this.:Architects’ money makers are finding defects AND they are hired to plan and oversee the contractors work.

          No need for City Inspection folks, just follow the money…

          No bricks were found to fall twice.

        • AC says:

          Ken, when you get a chance, search “NYC Engineer Maqsood Faruqi” on line. To my point, plenty of shenanigans going on when you allow Engineers to certify that they’ve carried out an inspection, when they haven’t. Making matters worse, NYC DOB’s lack of checking adds to the insult.

    4. Bruce Bernstein says:

      i remain deeply concerned about the safety of the upcoming construction project on the very next block (711 West End), where a 10 story building (or higher?) will be constructed on top of and around an existing 6 story building. And, based on the inflatable rat stationed in front of the site a while back, they will be using non-union labor.

      Construction on the site has not yet started.

    5. dannyboy says:

      “…but some fell that weren’t supposed to fall,” Tim Conroy of the Office of Emergency Management said.” WHICH BRICKS WERE SUPPOSED TO FALL?

      But Mr Tim jumps to get credit where credit is due: “…so fortunately the scaffolds were set up here and caught them”
      GO SCAFFOLDS!!!