Fun with Construction Safety: Ex-Park Slope Hot Sheets Edition
We haven't heard much about 153 Lincoln Place in Park Slope in quite a while. The gorgeous building was what some people called a "brothel" for a long time and others simply called a hotel with hourly rates. In any case, the place was sold in 2002, construction started a couple of years later, then it stopped and has restarted again. (There is an informative discussion thread on Brownstoner post from last year about the building.) Yesterday evening a GL reader, who like many New Yorkers is newly sensitive to construction safety issues after the awful crane collapse over the weekend, emailed us. Here's what it said:
Yesterday, I walked past an active construction site on Lincoln Place (next to the Conservatory btw 6th and 7th--you may know it as the place that was rumored to have once been a brothel.) My companion noted that there was a worker perched on the chimney way up on the roof. No harness.An analysis in yesterday's Times noted (among other things) some of the awful figures related to construction fatalities in New York City. It called NYC construction site "the modern version of the 19th-century coal mine." From early 2006 to the middle of 2007, 44 people died in construction accidents. Forty of the fatalities were on nonunion jobs and involved immigrants. Most of the deaths weren't at Manhattan high rises, but at low-rise sites in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. We see scenes like the one described above all over Brooklyn with disturbing frequency and the workers, more often than not, whose lives are on the line on the unsafe job sites, are immigrants. One suspects that some portion of them are undocumented workers, making them even more vulnerable to abuse.
A few hours later, I walked by again. There was an unharnessed worker (couldn't tell if it was the same one) in the same place. I called through the gate to ask if there was a supervisor I could speak to. A worker told me that he was "inside." As I had a child with me this time, I didn't pursue the boss further, but said to the worker that the other man didn't have a harness--which was dangerous. He replied, "It's only 20 minutes work." I was saddened, b/c the man I spoke to did not seem like he was particularly high up on the food chain--the sort that could easily be the one to fall victim to the shoddy safety practices of his employer. "He could be killed!" I said, "and besides it's probably illegal." He didn't respond and I wanted to get my kid away from there so I left.