Building in New York

I have been through a variety of renovations and one tear down.  Along the way, I have learned a lot about rules, regulations, code, fabrics (indoor and out), and the process. 

We are about to embark on another project.  I am really excited about it because not only do I really respect and enjoy the people we are working with, on all counts, I like starting things from scratch. 

One of the frustrating parts of building in New York is working with in some of the guidelines of the city, and the wait for documents.  I appreciate the process but it is at times annoying.  Although that is probably status quo anywhere, the butting against your neighbors walls is something that one only gets to truly experience in urban areas. 

Where we are building, we are butting against an old building that has not been occupied in over 15 years.  How many of you remember the Gulf Coast restaurant?  It was quite the happening restaurant during its time.  Since it is been vacant since then, the building has completely fallen apart.  Almost looks like the pictures we see from New Orleans.  Here is where frustration with the city begins to take place.

Take a look at the pictures.  You would think the city would condemn the building.  My concern is that when we begin building our building next door and drill huge pilings into the ground, the Gulf Coast collapses.  But, what if it collapses one evening when 4 kids are sitting underneath hanging out?  Or what if it collapses when day when somebody is walking their dog?  That is my concern.  It doesn’t appear to be a concern of the city.  Why?  I have no idea.

Once the city condemns the building, if the owner does nothing about it in 30 days, the city takes it down.  Smart, right?  I wonder how many buildings they have actually condemned.

Although we have contacted the owners numerous amounts of times asking them what they would like us to do.  We’d be happy to take it down for them, they refuse to talk to us.  Nice.

So, we are going to spend what it takes to insure that this building does not fall down while we are pounding the pilings next door. 

Why is it the city is so great on so many levels of getting stuff down but the building department is notorious for being the worst to deal with.  To me, our calling this problem out is preventive medicine.  Eventually that building is going to fall down and I hope that somebody isn’t injured or worse killed and we all get to read about it on the front page of the Post one morning.   Why is it that tragedy is sometimes the only thing that changes the status quo.