Sunday, January 21, 2007

Flatiron Fiasco

The New York Post reports today that a landmarked building in the Flatiron District at 29th Street and Broadway in Manhattan is being affected by construction of a 55-story luxury apartment tower taking place next door:

IN HARM'S 'SWAY' IN FLATIRON

In the meantime, the DOB sent someone down to the site to investigate. Not surprisingly, they said there wasn't a problem. Surprisingly, the inspector got there the same day that the complaint was called in. We in Queens know that when we call in an emergency complaint, it takes at least 10 days before someone shows up to take care of it.

17 comments:

Steve said...

At first I thought you were against the ugly Fedders going up in Queens, and the charming old houses they are replacing. On that front, of course I side with you. More and more history is being lost everyday just to throw up these horrific buildings.

But the more I read, I realize you are against essentially all development. The city still needs to grow. The church on W 29th sold its air rights to a developer knowing a big condo would be built. It's midtown, 55 stories is nothing out of the ordinary.

And you hate Scarano, the one architect who is actually building decent modern designs.

Is there any new construction you like? I'd like to hear about it.

Queens Crapper said...

Looks like you did poorly at reading comprehension in school, Steve. The comment made about the new building is that construction is affecting the property next door, and the DOB responded swiftly to the problem. Such a response never happens in Queens, where developers are intentionally damaging adjacent properties so that the owners will vacate and sell to them.

Queens Crapper said...

As for Scarano, apparently you think its just dandy that he lost his self-certification privilege because he builds bigger than he is allowed to and that workers die on his construction sites. As long as he builds, in your opinion, "decent modern designs."

Steve said...

Scarano is just the architect. He is not responsible for conditions on the site. It is the developers responsibility to ensure safety.

As for building larger than allowed, the whole mezzanine issue is so ridiculous....so a couple units have an extra room. It's not as if he's building 10 extra stories.

Looking further into the blog you're even against tall buildings in LIC! One stop away from midtown, a former industrial wasteland gives way to thousands of needed apartments and new parkland. I don't see the harm in all this. In order to protect the houses you and I love, we need to build on the former 1-2 story factories and parking lots, and densely.

I do enjoy reading the blog though, and generally agree with most posts. Sorry if I came off as an attacker.

Queens Crapper said...

Designing a building larger than the zoning allows is a cause of overdevelopment. A structure that is illegal is dangerous, and the person who designed the illegal building is Scarano. Believe it or not, there are structures I love in LIC, like the Hackett Building, that are being torn down to make way for the towers you seem to admire. Building huge structures without increasing the capacity of the infrastructure is a disaster waiting to happen. Ask the people who live there who had no power last summer. And who says new apartments are needed? More than half of these "luxury condos" are uninhabited because they are bought with foreign money as investments. A lot of the rest are second and third apartments for people living in Manhattan. Our borough is being destroyed to benefit people who don't live here! No one already living in Queens benefits from them. The LIC waterfront an industrial wasteland? Wow...you really have allowed the real estate PR machine to twist your head around, Steve. People who actually LIVE in Queens work in industrial zones. But I guess since you think those areas are ugly, then they should be replaced with shiny new apartment buildings.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve! It looks like you're a deveoper's "shill" maybe? I guess this site is begining to irritate people like you! Are you begining to dislike its effectiveness? Well, TS (and that doesn't mean Times Square)! I call a "good developer" someone who uses an architect like I.M. Pei, Robert A. M. Stern, Bob Meadows etc. you get the picture. Not "cheap wanna -bees" out of a 3rd rate architecture school! If you put up a larger nice looking structure that is appropriately scaled to accomodate the existing zoning requirements, nobody has any beef (provided nobody's violating the building codes)! Your knee-jerk logic is all over the place. Think, before you "mouth off". It indicates your ignorance on the subject!

verdi said...

The topic under discussion was the "slow response" from the Department of Buildings in Queens, when compared with the quick response that Manhattan gets. Steve seems to be off the subject and has his own pet-peeves. Queens, does in fact, get "snail-service" from DOB!

Anonymous said...

Hey you folks there at the "Parkside Group"....are you enjoying scoping this site? C'mon. You don't see great stuff like this in "the papers" do you? It never gets printed does it!

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't Scarano loose his "self certification" privilages because of unsafe conditions on quite a few of his building sites? Didn't a construction worker actually die on one? If so, this is very serious! Site deaths have increased a lot in NYC. Many of them are due to innadequate building inspections from DOB or faulty building plans. These tragedies have got to be prevented. Blood is too high a price to pay for the growth of a city! The "self-certification" proces is riddled with dangerous faults! I'ts been noted to be, pretty much, a failure. I believe that DOB is thinking of ending this program in the outer boroughs.

Simeon Bankoff said...

As I remember, Mr. Scarano chose to remove himself from the self-certification program before DoB could do anything. He is, to my knowledge, the only architect in the city of New York to do so. He is also, to my knowledge, the architect with the biggest body count/injuries in NYC.

Back on topic, DoB's response rate is a perennial problem EVERYWHERE. As it is an agency that is organized by boroughs, it would be interesting to compare statistics on Building Permits Issued vs. Inspectors per borough.

Anonymous said...

Well, that is a nifty comment! LIC is ‘wasted’ on the people that live there, so lets develop it. After all, its next to Manhattan!

Let me teach you a little civics lesson.

In times past one group of people's values and interests were judged superior to another, so it was ok to displace those on the ‘lower’ scale. My friend, thinking like that went out with the Battle of Wounded Knee. You don't exterminate a community because you believe another group should come in and find a ‘higher’ use for it.

This is classism. It is as bad as racism.

And it is repulsive.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

And it is repulsive that a political party that touts itself as the home for the Mr Everyman should not only tolerate this, but encourage this displacement of an entire community.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we are not against development. We just want our taxes to pay to improve our lousy municipal services, not be used to bring in more people and make services even worse.

Once we have a surplus and the infrastructe is there to handle it, then ok, go ahead and build.

But you know as well as I that this always lags decades behind.

So, why should I want to bring in more people?

How is that going to help me or my family?

Anonymous said...

I am not at all surprised. You folks in Queens are getting a raw deal from you local tin-pot politicians, but Manhattan gets no prizes either.

The beautiful Con Ed building, once visible in Union Sq, is obscured by those hideous Zeckendorf Towers. Judson Hall on Washington Sq is overshadowed by whatever that ugly garbage they put up behind it. I can go on for hours.

And the latest outrage, a good chunk of E 86th Street has been wiped off the map. The community has completely lost its charm. God knows what they are putting up there.

What is needed is a city wide symposium on how to stop development and bring back control to communities to the people that live there.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that this building has an active "Stop Work Order" against it? They're not supposed to be working on it anyway!

-RSD

verdi said...

Remember the way our native peoples were marched out of their "neighborhoods' and shoved into reservations because the land developers, back East, needed places to over-develop and exploit? It started with Andrew Jackson pushing the Seminoles into Florida (a place where nobody in their right minds wanted to live). Similar parallels exist today!

Anonymous said...

Thank's for the Scarano information Simeon. Glad to have you aboard!