Thursday, September 17, 2009

From Garden of Eden to Tar Beach

From the NY Times:

Long before green roofs were hot, long before Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared his goal to plant one million trees across the five boroughs, Mr. Goldstein was doing his part to green New York with his 2,500-square-foot aerie atop the ninth floor.

Until now, Mr. Goldstein’s garden has been governed mostly by the quick-changing whims of the seasons. This week, his birch tree is losing its leaves, and his apple tree has been bearing sweet, mild fruit. The seasons may be intractable masters, but Mr. Goldstein, now 71, has come to expect their tyranny. Much harder to accept: that a piece of paper pinned to a door should govern the fate of the small ecosystem that he considers an extension of his home.

In July, Mr. Goldstein, who runs a merchandising business from a small, sunny office mounted on his roof, found a troubling notice from the City Buildings Department on his building’s front door. From a roof nearby, the notice read, visual inspection revealed “small housing structures built on top of this roof,” along with other concerns, including “foliage resembling a small forest.” The building was not code-compliant, the notice went on to say, and the owner would be required to provide an engineering report documenting the structural soundness of the roof.

Then Mr. Goldstein received a letter in the mail, dated Aug. 28, from the bank that bought the building when its previous owner went bankrupt. The bank was terminating his lease to the roof. He would have until the end of September to deconstruct Eden and return the roof to its natural state: black tar, the kudzu of urban surfaces everywhere.


Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate, but if the roof's integrity was compromised by excessive weight or moisture, it is a reasonable action.

Now if they can close down the people who are mixing schoolpaste into the mortar for their bricks and whose buildings are held up by leaning on the correctly built ones next door.

Anonymous said...

You just can't have anything nice in this city. If you want anything of value, you have to pay the piper in the guise of higher taxes or some government red tape. That's why everyone is leaving New York for greener and cheaper pastures.

cmdrkynes said...

People are leaving New York? doesn't seem like it to me where they are building more crap next door!

Seriously though, this is a real shame. Every rooftop should have something on it. Since Maspeth has a waste transfer station instead of a park, maybe its time we go vertical. (That is of course if the building can handle it!)