Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Meet Your Department of Buildings. Or Not.

We would be riveted enough by the spectacle of the development site at 406-408 15th Street 9and Eighth Avenue) in the South Slope that threatens to undermine a variety of properties in the neighborhood, but we are utterly fascinated by the bureaucratic incompetence, malfeasance and nonfeasance surrounding it. The damage has been going on since last summer, to the point where buildings are cracking and becoming structurally unsafe, trees are falling over and sinkholes are opening. In a rational world, IMBY's latest post would have city bureaucrats falling over each other to try to remedy the situation or to at least make it look they care. Here goes:
Let's face it, the DoB is failing miserably in regards to protecting the surrounding properties... maybe as a morale booster if the DoB required its inspectors to wear one piece spandex blue and gold unitards, capes with the NYC BUILDINGS logo, and shiny black patent leather utility belts with matching boots... at the least they would still have some self esteem left to lose. I know what your thinking. You need to rotate inspectors to prevent the possibility of malfeasance and bribery. Hell, the way things are leaning in the contractors favor at 406, I would be truly disappointed if we find out no one has been receiving gratuities. Wow, free favors, that would really mean they don't know their underpinnings from a hole in the ground...

So we had a steady tsunami of DoB inspectors out to look at the new damage. Are two inspectors in one week considered a tsunami? Two different inspectors among a half dozen who have made visits this far. One who admitted this isn't his "area" and another who mysteriously disappeared after 5 minutes.

Unfortunately they had to be dragged kicking and screaming before they would come out to take a peek. Special thanks to Sergeant Ward at the 72nd police precinct for your help. Sergeant Ward had been out to the site to assess the damage months ago after a 5 foot deep sink hole formed taking out a utility pole and a tree. In his most recent visit, he immediately saw how bad the situation had deteriorated since his last visit and immediately made a call to the DoB.

That's right... The police are now calling the DoB telling them they better get their asses over to the building site or else.
One wonders when the city will stop turning a blind eye to the awfulness on 15th Street and do its job to protect residents.

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