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Bricks Tumble From Financial District Building

By Julie Shapiro | July 25, 2011 11:53am

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Bricks tumbled from a Financial District building Monday morning, shutting down a busy sidewalk and hitting a man's back, witnesses said.

The bricks and chunks of facade began falling from 16 Beaver St., between Broad and New streets, about 9:35 a.m. Monday, witnesses said. The largest piece that survived the impact against the sidewalk was about a foot long.

Downtown Alliance security officers and Buildings Department inspectors responded and quickly cordoned off the sidewalk in front of the building. Two Downtown Alliance officers said they saw additional pieces of the facade continue to fall.

Robin Mason, 56, was down the block when she was startled to see pieces of the building coming down.

"I didn't know what was going on," Mason said, adding that she had been scared.

Both Mason and a Downtown Alliance security officer said the block was filled with pedestrians when the bricks fell and shattered on the sidewalk.

The man hit in the back was protected by a backpack he was wearing. He did not appear to be injured, Mason and the security officer said.

The five-story commercial building at 16 Beaver St. has a Burger King and a newsstand on the ground floor. The newsstand closed after the accident, but the Burger King, which has another entrance on New Street, remained open.

Sara DeLaney, owner of Ciao Bow Wow dog daycare and spa on Maiden Lane, formerly located at 16 Beaver St., said she left the building a year ago because it had fallen into disrepair.

"There was essentially no upkeep in the building whatsoever," DeLaney said, recalling multiple leaks and elevators that frequently trapped people between floors.

The owner of 16 Beaver St. could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Department of Buildings said it was investigating and could not yet comment further.