The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

MAP: Dozens of NYC Buildings Illegally Burning Dirty Oil Past Deadline

By Emily Frost | August 26, 2015 7:24am
 There are 26 buildings still burning the dirtiest heating oil available, according to the city.
There are 26 buildings still burning the dirtiest heating oil available, according to the city.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — More than two-dozen buildings across the city are illegally burning dirty heating oil, nearly two months after a deadline to switch to cleaner fuels, authorities said.

Currently, 26 buildings are polluting the air by burning No. 6 oil, a sludge-like substance captured from the bottom of oil barrels, which can lead to health issues such as heart attacks and worsen conditions such as asthma.

All the buildings are using expired permits and had years of notice to make the switch to cleaner heating oils, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The number of buildings burning No. 6 oil has dropped significantly since December, when nearly 700 had expired permits

The current offending properties include 1030 Fifth Ave., which sits across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and includes apartments that have sold for as much as $35 million; and 424 W. 33rd St., which was cited by the city for unsafe construction conditions after a construction worker there fell to his death. The New York City headquarters of luxury bag and clothing label Coach at 516 W. 34th St. also made the list.

Building managers at 1030 Fifth Ave. and 424 W. 33rd St. did not respond to requests for comment.

A representative for Coach said the company is in the process of building a new headquarters at Hudson Yards, with plans to move sometime in the spring of 2016. However, the spokesperson did not address whether the building would continue to burn No. 6 oil at its current home.

As of Aug. 24, Manhattan and the Bronx each had nine buildings still burning No. 6 oil, while Brooklyn counted seven and Queens had one, the DEP said.

MAP of Buildings Still Illegally Burning Dirty Heating Oil:

An additional 58 buildings are either on court-ordered oil-conversion timelines or have recently filed paperwork with the DEP, granting them a exception during the conversion process.

The city passed a law banning No. 6 oil in 2010, citing the air pollution it causes and the resulting health issues.

Buildings have had years to switch over to cleaner oils — such as No. 2, No. 4 or natural gas — knowing the city would not renew their No. 6 oil permits.

Landlords were given a deadline to convert from No. 6 oil when their three-year permits expired, or by June 30, 2015, whichever came first.

Now, nearly two months past that date, the DEP is still chasing after stragglers that have yet to convert. The agency is sending inspectors out into the field to work with buildings, and in some cases, taking them to court, a department spokesman said.

Over the past three years, since the first No. 6 permits expired, the DEP has inspected 4,163 buildings out of the 5,300 that were originally burning No. 6 oil.

From those inspections, DEP issued 2,036 violation notices and 162 cease-and-desist orders aimed at forcing building owners to convert their heating oil, the spokesman said.

Up until the end of June, the city also used online tactics to try to get buildings to convert.

The addresses of all the buildings with expired No. 6 permits were posted on a map called "Spot the Soot" that encouraged tenants to pressure landlords to make the conversion.

But since the program's start, more than 98 percent of buildings citywide that were burning dirty heating oil back in 2011 have now converted, the DEP spokesman said. 

Subscribe to DNAinfo's Upper West Side Podcast: