Have you ever wished that there was a better way to keep up-to-date with all the developments and trends over at the Department of Buildings?
There might not be a whole lot of us, but fortunately, the Department of Buildings is always anticipating the needs and desires of its heavy-users (well, some of our needs and desires—we’re awaiting the day when we can see actually see PDFs of building plans online). They’ve started producing a monthly podcast! It’s called State of Construction.
Before you get too excited, you should know that despite the overarching, in-depth approach that a name like State of Construction would suggest, the podcasts are about a minute long and therefore only skim the surface of construction and DOB issues. Topics since the podcast launched in January have included construction in 2012, hub self-service, illegal conversions and the department’s mobile app. Not quite the juicy, NPR-quality paydirt we were hoping for, but the information is useful and Commissioner Robert LiMandri has a pleasant voice.
Mostly, the podcasts resemble public service announcements. In his illegal conversions podcast, Mr. LiMandri tells listeners that “certainly, we all know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” and warns that one should be wary of units that advertise significantly lower prices, basement or attic units and utilities that are included. He also gives the sage, though often ignored advice “to avoid apartments without windows or very small ones.”
It’s unclear who the target audience is, given that building and real estate professionals would too advanced for this kind of coverage and the general public probably doesn’t spend a lot of time hanging out on the DOB website, looking for a one-minute explainer on construction permits. Still, we appreciate the effort. It’s not the first time a city department has taken the leap into radio production. New York City has had its own radio station—WNYE, 91.5, since 1938. But podcast sounds cooler, more cutting edge, more up-to-the-minute. Maybe next, the DOB will modernize its ancient file request system? One can hope.