Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Broken Angel Standoff: A "Clinton Hill Waco"

We haven't really written about the awfulness that has surrounded Broken Angel since that fire drew attention to it and the city started trying to get the owners out. The story has been well covered by Brownstoner and others. Today, though, we're simply going to reproduce a bit about the Broken Angel Standoff that took place yesterday as reported by [Photo courtesy of bluejake]

UPDATE: Following the Broken Angel fire, the city cited it for a large number of building code violations and ordered it vacated. Its owner was taken from the premises in handcuffs (see above) and the city subsequently threatened demolition. Everyone is now scrambling to save the building. An architect has volunteered services, but actually bringing the building up to code will be costly. And so, art created by Arthur Woods and photos made by his son, Chris Wood, are now for sale to raise money. The owner has also gone to court to challenge the city's actions. The threat of demolition--while not as immediate--still hangs over this unique Brooklyn landmark.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious? "With all of the other violators in the city they have to arrest this one?"

That it the problem mentality that promotes illegal and usafe structures to remain a hazard to others.

In a previous article on your site it is stated that the city has ordered the occupants to get an engineer and architect to evaluate the repairs necessary and bring the building up to code. This is a requirement whenever a structure sustains a fire and is not habitable due to unsafe conditions.

Just because this building is cool to look at does not mean that it should be exempt. While I do feel sorry for the occupants having suffered the effects of the fire, I do not feel sorry that they do not have the money to make repairs. We all are responsible for the decisions that we make, one being that we need property insurance and the other being that we should own and reside on property that is within our means.

Yes, one has the right to be safe and secure in their own home - but not when it is unsafe to do so. The city was in their legal right to condemn the building after the fire and to prevent the owners from occupying the building until it can be made habitable again. They violated the law by staying there, in addition to risking their personal safety.

It is unfortunate that the onwners have to correct all of the deficiencies in addition to the damage by the fire, but that is life. If you were to obtain a building permit for a normal renovation you would be required to do such.

And to top it all off, the owners have the right to sell the property which is probably what they should have done regardless of the fire because they could not properly maintin it.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous christopher wood said...

Update Broken Angel 10/29/06
On 10/10/06 Broken Angel suffered minimal damage from a fire at the top of the structure. The cause of the fire is unknown and still under investigation. Broken Angel has been an active project of construction by my family beginning in 1979. Major construction was finished in 2002, and all work done thereafter has been for the purpose of maintaining the building. The fire brought the attention of the Department of Buildings (DOB), previous interactions had occurred in 1986, and 2002 with no action taken against the building. During the course of building and maintaining the structure there have been no accidents or complaints. Compared with most modern construction projects, such as the Time Warner building in NYC, this is an excellent record. It raises questions as to why large developers are allowed to continue construction when they pose a risk to the community, whereas Broken Angel, which has no history of construction problems, has been singled out as a danger. My mother and father, the legal guardians and owners of Broken Angel were threatened with eviction for 6 days. On the 7th day they were vacated by the police without a court order or engineer’s report. We question the necessity and the humanity of this action. They were told that this was done for their safety; however action was taken prior to any inspection of the interior of the building by an engineer. Furthermore, we were told that the building would be demolished in 3 weeks if an architect did not submit plans to bring it to code. We have been compliant with this request. We are thankful to the firm of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture for all of their help and support. On Thursday (10/26/06) an engineer from the DOB toured the structure, and the next day the DOB released a different story. A DOB spokesperson recently commented to the Daily News (10/27/06) that any demolition orders, if warranted will take approximately 3 months to begin.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Fireman I've been to that place several times....and always hoped that we would not have an actual structural fire in it.
Who knows what Mr Wood has done in there....and has he altered the structural stability of the building ?
Seems that Mr wood brought this upon himself
On a humorous note...when we would try to get someone to come to the door, he would stick his head out of a small round window ala the guy sticking his head out of the door at the Emerald City in The Wizard Of Oz !

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this the house in Dave Chappelle's Block Party? I loved the way the Woods described their creation in that movie. Seriously, someone contact Dave Chappelle.

9:39 PM  

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