Monday, June 29, 2009

June 30, 2009


The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a Full Vacate Order for the building at the NE corner of 92nd Street and Second Avenue (shown above) on Monday June 29th. According to the DOB, the building is [now] in danger of collapse.

The building, located at 1768 Second Avenue / 301 East 92nd Street, is a six story mixed use building with 3 commercial tenants on the ground level and 31 residential apartments above, according to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development web site.

This is the 2nd Vacate Order that has been issued for a building in the active 2nd Avenue Subway construction zone between 91st and 95th streets. (the 1st Vacate Order order was issued for 1772 Second Avenue earlier this month.)

When I took these pictures, at about 8:30 PM on 6/29, the NYC Office of Emergency Management, Department of Building and the Red Cross were on the scene offering assistance to the effected residents of the building.

The following commercial establishments are affected
by the vacate order:
The Big Easy (a bar) at 1768 Second Avenue
92nd Street Deli & Grocery at 1766 Second Avenue
Tony C. Laundromat & Dry Cleaners at 303 East 92nd Street

I spoke with employees from the laundromat, as they were leaving, and they said that they have no idea when they'll be able to reopen.

According to the NY Post article linked below, an MTA spokesman insisted, "the leaning condition at the buildings vacated on Second Avenue existed and was documented long before construction began."

I checked the DOB web site and see that the DOB issued a violation on 12/18/2006 (well before work started on the Launch Box site) with the reason listed as "Failure to Maintain Exterior Building Wall -- Defects noted: Bldg is leaning out of plum approx. for 10" out North side of Bldg. -- Remedy: Repair Defects."

Of course, the danger now is that the wall may have moved -- since the Vacate Order says that the wall is now leaning 18" towards the North.

From what I understand, the DOB has been inspecting all of the buildings in the area -- in preparation for "controlled blasting" that is planned for the southern portion of the Launch Box work site. The blasting is needed to remove bedrock so that the Launch Box can be excavated to it's full depth.

So its not clear at the moment whether or not the construction work in the Launch Box area led to the evacuation of this building. But it does seem to me that the MTA now has a bit of a PR problem to deal with -- with 2 residential apartment buildings, next to their construction site, evacuated within just this past month.

The vacate order (shown below) says:
"This order is issued because there is imminent danger to life or public safety or the safety of the occupants or property, in that Exposure 2 brick wall exhibit leaning 18" towards north causing unstable load bearing wall and in danger of collapse."
(Exposure 2 is the north side of the building.)

Orders and notices posted on the entrance door at
301 East 92nd Street.

Here contractors are at work late in the evening, in front of The Big Easy at 1768 Second Avenue, erecting a protective shed over the sidewalk.

And by Tuesday morning the new sidewalk shed is up, and all of the store fronts are closed - with the exception of Blondies, one of the 2 bars in this block. What I don't understand is why the sidewalk is still open, when the DOB says that the building is in danger of collapse.

Clearly the 92nd Street Deli & Grocery at 1766 Second Avenue will not be re-opening any time soon.

Here's a selection of news stories on this topic:

"2nd Avenue Subway, Second Avenue Evacuation"
NY Post, 6/30/09

"Building Evacuated Along Subway Construction Stretch"
NY1, 6/30/09

"2nd Ave. Tenants RIP 'Train Wreck' "
NY Post, 7/1/09

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 7, 2009

92nd, SE corner - looking N
Work continues on the eastern half of the work site, as the contractors continue the installation of the decking over the Tunnel Boring Machine Launch Box.

In this image a section of the concrete decking has temporarily been removed so that workers can access the underside of the deck structure.

Over the past few weeks the contractors disassembled and removed both of the big Bauer rotary drilling rigs, and the hydraulic clam-shell bucket crane, from the work site. These machines were removed because the contractor has now completed all of the the secant pile and slurry walls for the Launch Box.

92nd, NE corner - looking N
The NYPD had this sidewalk closed off on Saturday morning when I walked over to the deli to buy a newspaper. They were posted at this location because the Department of Buildings (who I saw on-site) had issued a VACATE ORDER for the 5 story, 13 unit apartment building at 1772 Second Avenue (btw. 92nd and 93rd), due to an unsafe condition in the building.

According to the NYC Department of Buildings web site, a Full Vacate Order was issued for this building because "the wall exhibits cracks and loose bricks throughout the northern half of the building & the building was leaning."

Update - 6/9/09
Here's a link to the story that the Post just ran on this topic.
"2nd Ave. Subway Caused Building Evac: Officials" - NY Post, 6/9/09

A view of 1772 Second Avenue.

This is a view of the sealed off section of sidewalk in front of
1772 Second Avenue on Sunday morning.

And here's the notice that was posted by the Department of Buildings.

93rd, SE corner - looking NE
(the apartment building on the left looks like it's leaning because the stitching of the 2 images, that make up this picture, did not line-up exactly.)

btw. 93rd & 94th, east side of the avenue - looking SW
These two remote controlled demolition machines arrived on the work site about 2 weeks ago. (I've been told that they are made by the Swedish company Brokk.) I would guess that they are being used to break up a large amount of concrete at this location.

And here's a closer view of the Brokk demolition machine.

94th - looking N
Workers at this location are preparing a large section of steel rebar caging. (the rebar is used to reinforce the concrete wall, that will probably be poured next week.)

btw. 94th and 95, east side for 2nd Avenue - looking W
Here you see two deck beams that have recently been "spliced" together. Each spliced beam extends across the width of 2nd Avenue.

Note that workers are now splicing the deck beams at this location and at a location between 92nd and 93rd, as they work to complete the deck structure over the Launch Box.

Another view of the same location

This is a stitched image of the same location.
(Left-click on the image for a full view.)

95th - looking S

btw. 91st & 92nd, west side of 2nd Avenue - looking E
A picture of Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria Restaurant, framed by a large earth moving machine.

- - -

In other news...

The store front at 1830 Second Avenue (formerly Doner Kebap) re-opened in late May 2009, as Chinese Mirch, a take-away restaurant. (This location had been vacant for 21 month.)

And updated listing of vacant store fronts in the Launch Box construction zone can be found on this link.

Here's a listing of the recent additions
to the right-hand column of The Launch Box:

Second Avenue Subway
an on-line exhibition.
This exhibition was prepared as part of the program "The Future Beneath Us: 8 Great Projects Under New York," which is a program that was put together by the The New York Public Library and the New York Transit Museum.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1, 2009

The following e-mail from the MTA arrived in my inbox this morning:

From: 2 Ave Subway
Date: Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 9:01 AM


Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the
Second Avenue Subway
Final Environmental Impact Statement:
72nd and 86th Street Station Entrance Alternatives (EA)

This is to inform you that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have completed a Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement: 72nd and 86th Street Station Entrance Alternatives (EA), providing the environmental analyses of MTA’s proposed entrance modifications at the northern ends of the Second Avenue Subway 72nd Street and 86th Street Stations.

This EA has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for FTA as lead federal agency.

As described in the EA, the proposed entrance modifications would not result in significant adverse impacts in any impact category.

The EA is available for public review at the following locations:

  • MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, 9th Floor Law Library

  • Federal Transit Administration, One Bowling Green, Room 429

  • Manhattan Community Board 8 Offices, 505 Park Avenue, Suite 620

  • Online at
MTA will hold a public hearing on the Second Avenue Subway EA on Thursday, June 18, 2009, at The DoubleTree Metropolitan Hotel, Metro Ballroom, 569 Lexington Avenue, at 6 PM.

Doors open at 5 PM and project staff will be available at that time.

UPDATE 7/1/2009:
The FTA and the MTA announced today that the deadline for the public to provide comments, on the EA, has been pushed back. The new deadline for submitting written comments on the EA is now 5:30 PM on July 31, 2009. Any written comments or materials regarding the EA that are received on or before that time will be made part of the record.

- - -

In other news...

The MTA has announced, on their web site, that Second Avenue Subway Contract 2A (referenced by the MTA as Contract C-26005) was awarded on 5/28/09 to E. E. Cruz and Tully Construction Co., a Joint Venture, LLC.

Contract 2A covers heavy civil and site work in and around the 96th Street station. Also included in this contract is the excavation work required to connect the new station at 96th Street to the existing 2nd Avenue subway tunnel just north of 99th Street.

The award amount was $303,863,700.

Also, the MTA opened and awarded the bid for Second Avenue Subway Contract 5A (referenced by the MTA as Contract C-26013) on 5/21/2009. The low bid for this contract was was placed by J. D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc.

Contract 5A covers preliminary excavation work, as well as utility relocation and road decking for the 2nd Avenue Subway 86th Street station location.

The low bid for Contract 5A was $34,070,039.