The more you know
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 Hurricane Sandy even reached the Five Boroughs, the city was thrown into chaos when its prevailing winds knocked over the boom of the crane hanging off the side of the billionaire-beloved One57 condo tower. In our oral history of Hurricane Sandy, Fire Chief Sal Cassano told The Observer that was the moment the storm got serious. “That was pretty much the start of a very, very active and serious night,” Mr. Cassano said. “We had a four-alarm assignment for an incident that wasn’t even a fire.”
Yesterday, The Times had a harrowing account of the moments surrounding the crane snapping. It includes the main city engineer on the scene saying he gave the boom a 20 percent chance of breaking off entirely and falling earthward. His boss, Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, felt more secure, as he told The Observer during our interview for the oral history that, following some initial panic, he felt confident the boom would hold through the storm and the days ahead.
“We had made an estimate that, at the time, we knew the crane was not going to fall,” Mr. LiMandri said. “We felt very comfortable that the ties that held the mast up were intact, and that was a very good sign, knowing that the mast had not been compromised. We had some estimates on the iron chords that were holding the mast together to the balloon, so we were fairly comfortable that that part was secure.”
The hearing room was full and the overflow room was overflowing at the New York City Council’s offices at 250 Broadway this afternoon. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first elevator safety hearing since two New Yorkers lost their lives in elevators in the past year. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first oversight hearing on elevator safety since 2003.
This in a city where most people live and work in high-rise, all serviced by some 60,000 elevators.
The main issue of the afternoon was two new elevator safety bills proposed by the council: one that would require existing elevators to be furnished with more safety devices and another that would require elevator workers to be licensed.
“We require licensing of our plumbers. We require licensing of our electricians. And the lack of elevator licensing is a major loophole,” said councilmember James Vacca, a sponsor of the licensing bill. “It is also a threat to the safety of millions of New Yorkers.”
Monday saw the first construction fatality of the year, when a cinder block wall on a work site in Queens collapsed on top of three construction workers, killing one of them. As The Times details today, Hedilberto Sánchez was one of four brothers from Mexico who work construction–all, it so happens, on the Read More
Developers would be able to renew permits at stalled building sites for as long as four Read More
Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Preservation, is headed to the real estate industry, as she resigned her government position to take a job as chief operating officer of Trinity Real Estate.
Ms. Lloyd assumed the DEP commissioner job in 2005, after the departure of Chris Ward, who is now Read More