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The Day | From Pizzas to Paleo

First Avenue and East 12th StreetAnnie FairmanFirst Avenue at East 12th Street.

Good morning, East Village.

Pizza joints play musical chairs on East 14th Street, with the brown-papered Naked Pizza reportedly making way for the first branch of Carmine Street’s Joe’s Pizza.

Some belated silent nights recently for folks around Avenue B and East 12th Street, where the Department of Buildings finally hit the pause button on an apartment construction site which was making life generally miserable with its noise and vibrations. Here are the details of the violation, and a hearing on February 7th.

Remember Ruff Club, the dog spa on Avenue A? Turns out they’re screening possible canine guests for issues like “toy aggression” and inability to share. “We’re not trying to create a master race of dogs,” owner Danny Frost assured the New York Times.

Finally, if the well of inspiration ran dry on New Year resolutions, how about some unusual diet options? You needn’t stray far from the neighborhood to find raw food at Pure Food and Wine on Irving Place, or a paleo diet (cave-dweller goodies) at Hu Kitchen, a block from Union Square. Enjoy!

Brauhaus Brouhaha: High Levels of Lead at Beer Hall Site

2012-07-23 12.52.22Timothy Davis Construction work at Paulaner Brauhaus.

High levels of lead have been found in dust that shot up from the incoming Paulaner Brauhaus and blanketed an upstairs apartment, displacing a family of seven and causing the city to issue a stop work order.

The dust-up occurred last Wednesday at 265-267 Bowery, where the brewhouse and beer hall is being built on the ground floor. On June 25, ceiling work sent a plume of dust through the floorboards of a second-floor loft, forcing its residents to seek shelter elsewhere while testing for toxic materials was conducted.

Today, a health department representative said the levels of lead found in parts of the apartment were six times what the Environmental Protection Agency finds acceptable. According to the testing company’s report (posted below), the highest concentrations were found in the living room, where Mr. Davis said the children’s books and toys are kept.

Blood work taken from at least one of the five children is still out at the lab. Read more…

Construction Dust-Up Leaves Beer Hall’s Neighbor Out of House and Home

photoEdna Ishayik 265-267 Bowery.

A beer hall bound for 265-276 Bowery has become involved in a dust-up that could hurt its chances of snagging a liquor license.

Last Wednesday, Vanessa Solomon was working in her loft apartment on the second floor of the building between Stanton and Houston Streets when a cloud of brown dust came up from the storefront space where the Paulaner Brauhaus plans to open. Her floors, bed, clothes, and papers were covered in dust, she said. She and her live-in partner, Timothy Davis, spent the rest of the day scrambling to find a clean place for their five school-aged children to sleep that night.

“It looked like Pompeii,” Mr. Davis told The Local.

It was only the latest disruption for Ms. Solomon, who, after 17 years in the loft, had already started looking for a new home in Brooklyn. A week before the dust plume struck, her landlord, Craig Murray, called to tell her that her month-to-month lease would end on Sept. 1 due to construction. “The same day,” said Mr. Davis, “demolition started downstairs without any notice to us and without any precautions although Tony Morali, the architect, had promised repeatedly that he would first put in a dust barrier and soundproofing.”

After dust began coming up from the first floor, Paulaner project representatives sent a cleaning service. But that was nothing compared to the carpet of brown powder that rose up July 25.

According to Rudolf Tauscher, an operator of the beer hall, that incident occurred during pre-construction safety checks, after ceiling panels were removed to reveal an “unsafe condition”: cracked wooden planks and beams. “We were trying to establish what needed to be corrected when dust went upward and when a hostile tenant informed the DOB,” he said. Read more…

‘Non-Life-Threatening Injuries’ in Stairwell Collapse

Followers of the Occupy East 4th Street blog may have noted Friday’s report of a woman injured at 86 East Fourth Street after a stairwell landing partially collapsed due to construction in the building. A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings revealed today that the victim, who is in her 30s, had non-life-threatening injuries. The incident occurred between the third and fourth floors and inspectors hit the owners with a violation for failing to maintain the building. Further details were not available. A resident in the building said that earlier today a temporary stairwell landing built by the Fire Department was still in place. Gatsby Realty, which has been the subject of several tenant harassment complaints, did not respond to a request for comment. Last year EV Grieve reported that the new owners of the building were not renewing tenants’ leases.

Mars Bar Site Hit With Stop Work Order

IMG_3295Stephen Rex Brown The Mars Bar site today

The Department of Buildings smacked a partial Stop Work Order on the former Mars Bar site today. A sign posted on the plywood construction fence at First Street and Second Avenue, where a 12-story condo is being erected, indicates that “all chopping and saw cutting on foundation walls” must cease.

It’s uncertain what provoked the order (we’ll let you know what we hear from the D.O.B.), but it isn’t the first hiccup at 25 East First Street. According to paperwork, a partial Stop Work Order was served last month after the Department of Buildings received a complaint that a crane appeared to be unsafe, and an inspector found that the project’s engineer of record hadn’t signed off on it. That issue has now been resolved.

In December, before the dive bar was toppled, another stop work order was issued after a worker was injured during a ceiling collapse.

Here’s The Story: A Look Inside That Controversial Fifth-Floor Addition

Screen shot 2012-02-10 at 3.25.34 PM

Want to live in one of the most controversial apartments in the neighborhood? Here’s what the layout of your new pad will look like!

Earlier today, The Local got hold of the blueprints for 315 East 10th Street, the building that got the go-ahead for a rooftop extension literally hours before the Landmarks Preservation Commission declared it within a historic district along Tompkins Square Park.

The completely new, 1,523-square-foot fifth floor will feature a pair of one-bedroom apartments (accessible by elevator!). The exterior will have a new “historic” touch, too: a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said that the owner of the building, Ben Shaoul, has pledged to build a replica of the existing cornice on top of the new floor. Read more…

City Slaps IHOP With $2,000 Fine

ihopDaniel Maurer

A judge fined the owners of IHOP $2,000 for soil on the roof of the restaurant and garbage bags and boxes obstructing an exit, court documents filed earlier this month show.

The ruling from the Environmental Control Board — a court that adjudicates violations to the building code — notes that the issues have been resolved. The soil on the roof, which may have come from a neglected rooftop garden, even resulted in a stop work order that has been lifted.

Meanwhile, Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez sent a letter to the owner of the IHOP on 14th Street last month asking him to remedy issues regarding odors and noise from the restaurant’s rooftop equipment before going before a judge as “a good faith gesture to the community.” Read more…

Stop Work Order on ‘Schwimmer’ House

331 East Sixth Stop Work OrderStephen Rex Brown The orders, dated Nov. 9.
331 East Sixth St.Stephen Rex Brown The construction site.

Department of Buildings inspectors slapped the site at 331 East Sixth Street with a stop work order on Wednesday — the latest setback for the controversial project that is rumored to be the future home of “Friends” star David Schwimmer.

The order cites a complaint — filed through 311 — that the construction is undermining a property next-door, causing it to shake.

Last month the site was hit with a violation for failure to post the required permits for an eight-foot-tall fence at the front of the lot.

The antebellum row house was demolished in September to pave the way for a five-story, one-family building. Since the project was revealed, rumors have swirled that David Schwimmer is the man behind the demolition. The Local has made numerous efforts to find out who will be living in the house, as well as what it will look like, all to no avail.

The Trouble With The Bowery Hotel’s Terrace

Stephen Rex Brown The Bowery Hotel.

The Department of Buildings hit the Bowery Hotel with a violation for an enclosed roof over a backyard terrace on Monday. According to Department of Buildings spokeswoman Ryan Fitzgibbon, the roof was contrary to the building’s approved plans. The hotel’s management will now face a formal hearing regarding the violation.

Interestingly, the complaint is nearly identical to one filed last year when the structure was being built. According to online records, workers were improperly storing construction equipment on the property of the New York Marble Cemetery, which abuts a portion of the hotel.

Caroline DuBois, the president of the cemetery, said she did not know why the violation was reopened (all complaints are filed with 311 anonymously). Rumors regarding a dispute between the hotel and the cemetery over the burial ground’s crumbling walls have swirled since an article in The New York Times in 2008.

Controversial Sixth Street Lot Hit With Violation

Stephen Rex Brown The violation at 331 East Sixth Street.

The construction site at 331 East Sixth Street — rumored to be the future home of “Friends” star David Schwimmer — received a violation from a Department of Buildings inspector today.

The notice cites the developer for failure to post the required permits for an eight-foot-tall fence at the front of the lot.

Much speculation and anger has surrounded the site since it was reported in July that the townhouse built in 1852 would be demolished to make way for a new dwelling.

The Local made numerous attempts to find out who the owner of the building is, as well as what the new building will look like. The accounting firm handling the property has remained tight-lipped about the identity of its client, and the architecture firm designing the building has not returned several phone calls.

Meanwhile, an apparent anarchist and architecture critic has left a note at the lot letting the developers know what he thinks about their “ugly, yuppie, ghetto catering to monied transients.”

International Bar’s Backyard Closed

Stephen Rex Brown Bad news for lovers of $3 Schaefer and cigarettes.

Falling bricks from a neighboring building have forced the International Bar to close its backyard, eliminating a haven for locals who enjoy cigarettes with their cheap beer.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Buildings, an inspector slapped the bar with the vacate order last month after noting the plummeting masonry from 93 East Seventh Street.

A bartender at the popular dive told The Local over the phone that the blocked backyard was only temporary, and that any barflies who were looking to drink outdoors should go to sister bar the Coal Yard nearby. Read more…

Work Set to Resume at 35 Cooper

Work at 35 Cooper Square is set to resume now that the site’s developer, Arun Bhatia, has been issued a new permit to install scaffolding at the site. “The owner can do work under permits issued,” said a Department of Buildings spokeswoman. As for the status of a violation issued against Mr. Bhatia regarding the site’s roof, a hearing is scheduled for June 2.—Suzanne Rozdeba

Violations Cleared on 35 Cooper

The developer of 35 Cooper Square has resolved three outstanding code violations concerning work at the site, according to a spokeswoman with the Department of Buildings. The developer, Arun Bhatia, paid about $16,000 in fines related to the violations, according to department records; the status of a fourth violation was unclear. Mr. Bhatia has not said how he intends to develop the site, which preservationists have asked him to maintain. —Suzanne Rozdeba

Developer Cited for 35 Cooper’s Roof

35 Cooper SQ.: Destroyed Roof DetailTim Milk The developer of 35 Cooper Square has been cited by the Department of Buildings for the condition of the historic structure’s roof, which is pictured above in a February photo.

City officials have ordered the developer of 35 Cooper Square to take immediate steps to repair the roof of the historic structure, which has been the subject of a campaign by preservationists to keep it from being razed.

On Wednesday, officials with the Department of Buildings issued a citation to the developer of the site, Arun Bhatia, ordering him to make the repairs.

Since February, city officials have issued four citations concerning work at 35 Cooper Square, all of which are still open. In addition to this week’s notice regarding the roof repairs, Mr. Bhatia has been cited for failure to safeguard property, performing work without a permit, and failure to post a permit.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings said that the citation regarding the roof repairs “means that we had previously issued a violation for the condition of the roof and the property owner has not corrected that condition. What the property owner should do now is obtain permits to perform the necessary roof work. In this case it would be to close off the roof.” A hearing on the roof violation is set for June.

Asked about the gaping hole in the roof and whether the developer would be required to cover it, she said, “We issued a violation for the roof. To bring the site into compliance, the owner should obtain a permit for the necessary work.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bhatia, who met with preservationists on Tuesday to discuss the building’s future, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

City Orders End to Work at 35 Cooper

35 Cooper Square Stop Work OrderColin Moynihan The New York City Department of Buildings posted a full stop work order outside 35 Cooper Square. Below: A close-up of the roof of the building. A violation notice from city officials cited the roof, which “has been partially stripped to sheathing and in some cases joists.”
35 Cooper SQ.: Destroyed Roof DetailTim Milk

The New York City Department of Buildings posted a full stop work order on a plywood wall that developers recently put up the front of 35 Cooper Square, a nearly 200-year-old federal-style building near the corner of East Sixth Street.

The stop work order is dated Feb. 14, the same day that a demolition permit for the building was granted to a developer, Arun Bhatia, and others who own the property. Mr. Bhatia could not immediately be reached for comment.

Neighborhood residents, elected officials and conservation advocates had held rallies and circulated petitions in an attempt to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the three-story building, which is the oldest structure on Cooper Square. But the commission recently declined to make the building a landmark, saying that its historic façade had been altered. A spokeswoman for Mr. Bhatia has said that he has no firm plans for the building or the site.

Accompanying the stop work order were two notices of violation that were issued in Mr. Bhatia’s name because, they said, a work permit had not been posted in area visible to the public and because of what one form termed a “failure to protect public and property affected by construction operations.”

That form went on to offer additional details, saying that 35 Cooper Square’s roof “has been partially stripped to sheathing and in some cases joists” and is accessible by way of a second floor bar in the Cooper Square Hotel, a recently built high rise.

On Tuesday evening several passersby paused to gaze at the stop work order and other documents. Among them was Cynthia Pringle, an arts administrator from Greenpoint who works near Cooper Square.

Ms. Pringle, 29, said that she hoped the stop work order would prevent the demolition of the old building.

“This is the last of its kind around here,” she said. “This is history.”

Demolition Set for 35 Cooper Square

35 Cooper Square 1Claire Glass City officials today approved a plan to demolish the historic site at 35 Cooper Square. Below: About 100 people held a demonstration last month to protest planned demolition at the site.
DSC05184Suzanne Rozdeba

Scaffolding has gone up, workers are busy on the roof and an application for full demolition was filed and approved today for 35 Cooper Square. Yet the new owners of the nearly 200-year-old federal-style building that preservation groups are trying desperately to keep standing told The Local three times in the past 10 days that the firm as yet had no concrete plans for the property.

Beyond erecting the scaffolding, removing the asbestos, and blocking the windows with wood as a “safety” precaution, there are no definite plans for construction, Jane Crotty told The Local today, speaking for developer Arun Bhatia, one of the new owners. Mr. Bhatia is a partner at Cooper and 6th Property LLC, which owns the building. “I don’t have any word on that,” she said.

As for the application for full demolition, Ms. Crotty said, “They’re pursuing their rights to develop the property. The application was filed today.” She confirmed asbestos removal began this past weekend, and is continuing today. “The removal will probably take a couple of days, if not a week.” In conversations on Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, Ms. Crotty had also said there were no definite plans for the site.

Over the last several weeks advocacy groups and elected officials have fought to preserve the site. The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors had gathered more than 1,000 signatures for a petition to designate the spot a historic landmark. Now, it would appear, those efforts have been dealt a significant setback.

Upon hearing news of the approval of the application for full demolition, David Mulkins, chair of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, said, “This city needs to do something very quick to preserve and protect this street before all of this historic character, all evidence of it, is gone. It does break your heart, and it also breaks your spirit.”
Read more…