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Posts Tagged ‘asbestos abatement’

At the Crack of Dawn, Work on Henderson Building, 5:30 am, August 18, 2010

This morning at 5:30 am, Thor Equities work crew continued demo and asbestos abatement work on the doomed Henderson Building across from Nathan’s in good old Coney Island. A few courageous photographers ventured out to document the worksite, despite the fact that one was threatened by a worker who tried to grab his camera on Tuesday. Now it’s safety in numbers! The above photo of the Bowery side of the Henderson Building arrived via email just after 6 am. We asked the photographer: what were they doing to the awnings? The answer was “they were tearing them down.” This appears to be the case if you look at the photo below taken 3-1/2 hours later of the same scene. Unfortunately the DOB has to see the violations happening and photographic evidence seems to count for nothing.

Since photos of Thor’s workers hammering away at the Henderson Building were posted on Monday, Coney Island’s Community Board 13 has questioned the Dept of Buildings (no permits have been issued for demolition) and Dept of Environmental Protection (a permit for asbestos abatement has been issued, though it was not displayed at the worksite). It appears that public scrutiny has led the crew to beef up their asbestos safety procedures. In the first photo, for example, there’s a sheet of material covering the sidewalk, which was not the case on Monday.

One photographer writes: “Took some photos today, Thursday 8/19/10, at 9 am, most taken from the Boardwalk side. They are working on the theater, south side of building. Looks like they are using a staircase to bring stuff up to the roof. All the workers are in air tight suits, see the yellow boots. They are laying out white plastic sheets on the roof and dumping stuff into the white sheets, tying up the sheets and stacking the rolls.” Okay DEP, we would like to know if the City is doing “Ambient air monitoring” to measure airborne asbestos fiber concentrations in the general vicinity of the worksite. Unlike the DOB website, the DEP site provides no information to the public on permits that have been issued. Readers may want to take a look at the DEP’s “New Asbestos Rules & Regulations, effective June 6, 2010.”

Before we go anywhere near Surf and Stillwell, we plan to take a cue from the workers and suit up in protective clothing. The yellow boots could become a new fashion statement in Coney Island–Lola Star take note! In the meantime, ATZ recommends the Asbestos Safety Kit which we found online for only $43.95 and includes the following items:
• Tyvek® disposable suit with integral hood and boots
• Sleeve covers (1 pair) (White).
• Latex gloves (2 pair)
• Goggles, chemical resistant with indirect vents.(1)
• Respirator (1) (half mask)
• HEPA cartridges (2)
• 6 mil poly bags 3’ x 5’ (4) bags/kit with asbestos warning (not shown)

Related posts on ATZ…

July 1, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Demolition Under the Radar?

June 14, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Caution! Asbestos Removal at Doomed Bank

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

April 21, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings

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 What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress!

What's behind the newly erected tarp atop Bank of Coney Island? Asbestos removal in progress! June 14, 2010

We’re shocked that the City has issued permits to Thor Equities for pre-demolition asbestos abatement during Coney Island’s summer season. Couldn’t Joe Sitt be persuaded to wait till October to get on with his dirty work of demolishing the historic buildings that he owns in Coney Island?

Joey Bulldozer Sitt, who has ZERO rides and attractions on his Stillwell lots this season, contributes ZERO to the Coney Island community. While Coney Island’s stakeholders are busy working to make this summer the best in decades, the only thing Joe Sitt is busy doing is turning the rest of his Coney property into empty lots asap. Too bad New York City is not ancient Athens, where citizens considered dangerous to public welfare were banished!

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The permit from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection is dated June 1, 2010 and runs through January 2011. Is the City monitoring the air around the doomed Bank of Coney Island or leaving it up to Thor’s team to keep us safe from inhaling asbestos fibers and dust? Here’s where we start to be concerned…

Workers have been doing asbestos abatement at the bank building on weeknights for the past two weeks. Last week another Coney Island photographer was threatened by a thuggish worker who made a grab for his camera as he was snapping photos. Did they have something to hide or were they merely camera shy? Today for the first time the crew worked daytime hours. Early this morning some kind of white covering appeared on the rooftop, but caution tape did not materialize on the street until 1 pm. Sounds of heavy machinery in bank. Observers tell ATZ it looked like they were cutting and removing pipes and metal. While some workers wore hazmat-type gear, others were seen working inside the building in street clothes, no hard hats. Around 3 pm, they put garbage bags full of material in the back of a closed unmarked truck.

Uh, do we have to point out that asbestos is considered dangerous? Since there is no known safe level of exposure, all asbestos exposure should be avoided. Anyone who is exposed to asbestos can get mesothelioma. “Workers who deal with this deadly material often carried microscopic asbestos fibers home with them in their clothes and hair, which caused secondary exposure to their families and friends. Over time, these innocent victims can develop mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other fatal conditions.”

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island.  Photo by Capt Nemo.

NPU ducts protrude from second story of Bank of Coney Island. Photo by Capt Nemo.

See “A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Bank of Coney Island” (ATZ, Oct 9 2009) for a look at a building that is not long for this world. The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Save Coney Island’s proposal to landmark the bank building and three other historic buildings. The other three –the Grashorn and Henderson and the Shore Hotel — are probably next on the abatement list. One day last week when we passed by the vacant Shore Hotel, we saw the shuttered first floor open. A man was inside taking notes. Since the Henderson and Bank of Coney were doomed by last year’s rezoning for 30 story hotel towers, it’s doubtful that Save Coney Island’s continuing efforts to save them will succeed. So what’s your hurry, Joe?

UPDATE August 14, 2010:

We’re sorry to report the demolition permit for the bank building was issued yesterday– Friday the 13th. It was no surprise because on Wednesday the sidewalks around the Thor-owned building were being dug up to disconnect sewer and water lines in preparation. How inexpressibly sad to see the potential here and what will be gone forever in a matter of days. Don’t bother calling the DOB to complain either. It’s final! According to the permit: “This job is not subject to the Department’s Development Challenge Process. For any issues, please contact the relevant borough office.” Joe Sitt will soon have another empty lot to add to his collection of empty lots.

UPDATE June 14, 2010:

Soon after our post, we received an email from contributing photographer Bruce Handy with links to his flickr photo set of asbestos removal signs at the Shore Hotel, seen during Save Coney Island’s Historic Walking Tour on June 13. We bet the other two buildings have permits, too. Too bad the DOB doesn’t list these permits on the Bank of Coney’s and Shore Hotel’s pages on the DOB site, where people have been keeping an eye out for news! According to the DEP’s website, the City’s permitting process for asbestos abatement has been moved from the DOB to the DEP’s office in Lefrak City.

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 14, 2010.  Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Shore Hotel Asbestos Set, June 13, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

May 13, 2010: Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

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