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Construction Site Sends Wet Concrete and Lunch Debris Onto Neighbor's Patio

By Heather Holland | October 31, 2013 7:35am | Updated on October 31, 2013 9:15am
 A Resident endures trash and wet concrete falling from the 35 W. 15th St. construction site.
Debris Falls from Construction Site onto Adjacent Homes
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UNION SQUARE — Giuseppe Scalia's outdoor space not only has a view of a construction site — it's also covered in wet concrete used to build the high rise condo across the street.

Scalia’s balcony at 16 W. 16th St. faces a building site at 35 W. 15th St. For the past year, he’s endured lunch wrappers and napkins blowing across and onto his newly renovated patio — but the last straw was the wet concrete.

It splatters across the street and now covers his furniture, floor — and even cakes his plants, he said.

“When I first saw it, I thought they were bird droppings, but they were chunks of concrete” said Scalia, pointing to streaks of concrete that had dried on the glass doors of his terrace.

“Can you imagine? We’re breathing in this stuff.”

Scalia recently spent thousands of dollars renovating his outdoor oasis. He bought brand new outdoor furniture, plants and tiles — all now speckled with drops of concrete.

Additionally, the concrete has splattered onto the roof of the building below him and onto his next door neighbor’s property, Scalia said.

The first drips happened a couple of weeks ago, and the damage has steadily gotten worse, he said. So, he made calls to the Department of Buildings and Alchemy Properties, the owner of 35 W. 15th St.

Past calls were met with silence, until his most recent emailed complaint, which was sent out to elected officials and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri. That sparked a visit from representatives of the DOB and Alchemy Properties on Tuesday.

In response to the complaint, the DOB issued a stop work order on Oct. 29 for “concrete falling onto the adjacent property,” and that was still in effect on Wednesday. The DOB also issued an ECB violation for “failure to safeguard persons or property.”

After a visit to Scalia’s apartment terrace on Tuesday, a rep from Alchemy sent an email to Scalia, explaining that the concrete work would continue for another two weeks.

“The super brought me up to look at the terrace and there is some splatter of concrete that wipes right off of the railings, table, etc.” said Samuel Zeoli, in an email to Scalia seen by DNAinfo New York.

“I suggested to the super that I would be finished in two weeks with the concrete and it would be best to clean it then.

"We are addressing the concerns of the neighbors and the Department of Buildings. We are modifying the procedures immediately to address those concerns."

The construction of the high-rise condo has been going on since 2011. Alchemy Properties did not respond to a request for a completion date or for comment.

In addition to condos, the first six floors of the property will be home to a Catholic college preparatory school, Xavier High School, currently located at 30 W. 16th St. It will include new classrooms, a gymnasium and recital space, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Residents living near the construction have also made several complaints to the developer and the city for the frequent approval of after hour work permits at the construction site.

In the past, the city has approved after hour work permits, allowing construction work on late nights and weekends nearly every week for the past year, angering residents who said they are fed up with the constant noise.

The city recently approved after hour work permits for each weekday from Oct. 24 through Nov. 6, allowing construction work from 6 p.m. to midnight.

"The After Hour Variance was issued prior to the stop work order," said a DOB spokesman. "No work can proceed until the Stop Work Order is lifted."