Aging façade poses risks to landlords, residents and visitors, neighbors say

Manhattan

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — With apartment buildings in the city aging — many approaching 100 years old — it’s not just the safety of residents at stake if something goes awry, but the safety of passers-by, too.

The worst case scenario of things falling apart at precisely the wrong time involves pieces of the building crashing down onto the ground: that’s exactly what happened Friday night to a man as he opened the front door of the apartment building located at 662 184th Street in Washington Heights.

Large pieces of the concrete and mortar façade fell off the building, and came crashing down onto his head.

Fanny Fabre is a lifelong resident of the building located just off Broadway; she said the victim is a friend who came over to hang out.

“He didn’t say anything,” she said. “He couldn’t talk. His mouth was full of blood. He’s doing better, but he can’t really move because of his back and the headaches he gets.”

Neighbors said they are frustrated with the landlord’s maintenance and upkeep of the building.

“We pay these landlords to stay in their buildings, and we expect the buildings to be in the proper shape,” said neighbor Julio Cruz. “The minimum we expect is to not get hit in the head by concrete, obviously. At least, we should be safe in our buildings. Some of us are low income, so we cannot afford to move when things get bad. So we just have to deal with it. So the landlord should at least compromise with us by having a safe building to live in.”

We left a voice message and sent an email to the building’s management company; they did not respond (though many offices were closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day).

“It’s very frustrating,” Fabre said,” because he has a daughter, and he could have gotten killed. This is just a representation of one of the many things that’s wrong in this building.”

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Buildings said after the incident, additional loose pieces were removed from the façade just to be safe.

“As a result of our investigation, DOB issued a violation to the property owners for failure to maintain the building. We have ordered the property owner to contract the services of a professional engineer in order to compile an engineering report on the structural stability of the building’s façade for our review,” the spokesman told PIX11 News.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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