Thursday, April 9, 2015

The whole East Village is illegally converted

From the Wall Street Journal:

City inspections of more than 50 buildings in the East Village following the fatal March 26 explosion and fire at 121 Second Ave. have turned up violations related to gas lines, fire safety and illegal construction, city records show.

The blast, which leveled three buildings and killed two people, is being treated as a case of suspected gas diversion, officials have said. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.

Two weeks after the blast, area residents remain concerned that problems that bedeviled 121 Second Ave. leading up to the explosion—a record of unlicensed construction work and building and housing violations—could be mirrored in their own buildings, some of which have records of complaints and violations going back years.

At one building across the street from the blast, gas has been shut off after inspections revealed construction without a permit and potentially illegal gas siphoning, records and interviews show. At another, Department of Buildings records show a violation for an improperly placed gas meter and new complaints alleging illegal boiler work, among other concerns.

Since March 26, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has issued violations at a number of buildings on the block, ranging from faulty locks, doors, handrails and windows to blocked fire escapes, lack of gas and failure to register as a multiple family dwelling with the department. One building was cited by the department for illegal use of the cellar as residential space, records show.

Recent complaints to the Department of Buildings for buildings on the block show concerns about unlicensed construction, fire hazards, and illegal conversion of space for bedrooms.


Anonymous said...

Record rents collected, sky high sale prices plus 421a tax breaks and it's not enough for some. They have to steal gas and jeopardize safety for greed.

Anonymous said...

And what will happen as a result of the investigations: 1.Nothing or 2. the whole East Village will be raised to make room for glass high - risers.

Anonymous said...

How awful;I thought this was only in the outer boroughs. How many more have to die before DOB does something?

Anonymous said...

Think of what has been done illegally in Flooshing. Who will protect residents from a similar tragedy? The community bored? DOB? Councilman Koo or Vallone? Borough hall ? Toby Stavisky? The Flushing BID?

Flooshing is an Asian settlement. Ooops...dare we call it a colony? Life is cheap in the Orient and so it is in Flushing too.

Besides....we do not want to offend the Asians who have contributed heavily, and continue to do so, to many political coffers.

In other words, "Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown".
The policy here is to just look the other way.

Anonymous said...

DOB has pulled a lot of building inspectors from Queens recently. What does that leave us with? Fewer crooked inspectors. How can you win a game like this?

Anonymous said...

"investigating to determine if any criminal charges are warranted." With a nod to "presumption of innocence" why is it charges are rarely warranted when someone's making money?

Anonymous said...

As long as the cost of filing for permits and using licensed professionals stays exorbitant, New Yorkers are going to keep seeing accidents like these in the perpetual future!

Anonymous said...

"illegal use of the cellar as residential space" - hah!

As if there's any block in Brooklyn or Queens where this is not happening.

The horror...

The Flushing Phantom said...

So it takes an explosion to blow open the corrupt DOB!
Now a federal investigation is needed to uncover the systematic bribery that has been rampant there. We cannot trust New York City agencies, it seems.

It is unfortunate that bloodshed is required before we can expect quick results.

The construction industry is all mobbed up. DOB works with them for $$$$$$$$$$$ to cover up violations.

Anonymous said...

DOB just does not do its job. Anyone who lives near someone that they know is illegally renting needs to report it before someone else dies.

Ernest Hemmingway said...

Richard, here's how to write simply: