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Work on landmarked sidewalk apparently w/o a landmarks permit

Vanderbilt Avenue between Pacific and Dean Streets
September 21, 2012 - 9:43am

On behalf of Barclays Center, working in coordination with Atlantic Yards contractors, and timed to be complete to facilitate arena operations, Verizon is currently laying fiber optic cable under a landmarked sidewalk by digging a trench along its full length.  
The contractor, who was helpful and forthcoming, did not appear to know the block was landmarked and did not have a permit from the landmarks commission to show me.  His DOT permit, issued on September 12, 2012, is B01-2012256-056.  The pages of the permit I saw said the sidewalk type is concrete.  The sidewalk the trench is being dug through is a mix of blue stone and concrete.  It isn't clear if the existing blue stone was cut or removed, but it is my understanding a permit from the Landmarks Commission is required regardless. 
The work so far has occurred in multiple areas of the landmarked district.  The sidewalk on Dean Street west of Carlton was also cut.
The contractor explained that his company replaced the regular Atlantic Yards contractors at the last minute because they had run out of time and had already received too many permits from DOT.  They started late and are racing to get the cable in the ground because the arena needs it.
It is not clear at this time why the cable is going in the sidewalk.

The nature of the threat posed by the incident or impact.
Local community
More than once
Property damage
Bluestone cut.jpg2.8 MB
Bluestone cut detail.jpg69.47 KB

That's my block!

Priority: -> normal
State: -> Active
Client: -> Public
Assigned: unassigned -> Peter K.

The contractors did NOT cut ANY bluestone. The building you photographed, (You are the guy with the pastry bag and white hair that took pictures right?) happens to be owned by a good friend of mine. He was more than happy to have the sidewalk repaired outside of his building. The work, which happened outside of my window as well, involved access to the manhole located outside of Woodwork Bar, and concluding at McDonald's. What's with the drama? Your image of "Bluestone cut detail" clearly shows, that there is a 12 inch piece of concrete separating the bluestone and ditch. The hammer is laying right on top of it.

"My property is in a Landmark or Historic District. Will the City fix it for me?
If your sidewalk is constructed with a special material, it is unlikely that DOT will make any repairs. If your sidewalk is constructed with concrete, DOT may make repairs or replacement with concrete. If you do the work privately, you must obtain a permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. For more information, dial 311 and request a Landmark Building Alteration Permit."


Contractor had a DOT permit, only the owner of the property is required to get a landmark permit if he performs work on special material i.e. bluestone at his property. If DOT preformed the work, see above. No bluestone was damaged as your photograph shows. So, I'm not seeing the violation you are complaining about here. Thank you for looking out for the residence of Vanderbilt Ave, between Dean and Pacific Streets! However this time, your concerns sound more like a witch hunt.


Protecting the historic district

The work taking place was extensive and entailed cutting into sidewalks in multiple areas in the city landmarked Prospect Heights Historic District.  It created a variety of impacts including towed cars, signs on street trees and concrete dust next door to a day-care center.  You can find those details elsewhere on this website.  The city landmarks buildings and sidewalks with distinctive features because it believes those features should be protected for the public's sake.  Bluestone in historic districts is generally treated with care.  The designation report for your block states your sidewalk is a mix of bluestone and concrete.  It is my understanding normally plans are required to be filed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which then issues a permit for the work.  
Here are some details from the NYC Landmark's Preservation Commission's work guide on sidewalk replacement:
"If your application to the Landmarks Commission includes proposed sidewalk replacement, please provide black and white or color photographs of the existing sidewalk. The purpose of the photo is to show the condition, materials and pattern of your sidewalk and curb and those of the properties bordering yours on both sides."
The guide also details how the sidewalk ought to be repaired if there is an impact on bluestone.  This work apparently had neither a plan nor a landmarks permit even though bluestone is mixed into the sidewalk.  This work is not a repair executed by DOT, but by a contractor working on behalf of Verizon in coordination with the developer of Barclays Center.  As the link you provide notes, if you work privately, (and for the moment I assume this work is categorized as private), you are required to get a permit from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  
If you read the incident report you will see that it says it is not possible to say whether the bluestone was cut or not.   If you look at the second more detailed photo you will see an area where the cut comes close and there is no visible concrete seam leading up to the trench.  If a plan were filed with landmarks, we could tell.  Otherwise we are left to note normal procedures apparently weren't followed.
Thanks again for your studiousness and your input.  If you want to learn more about AYW and its goals, I encourage you to contact us.