Saturday, March 22, 2008


Biker Bill Says : "Some Knuckle-Heads You Can't Tell Nothin' "


03:21 Hrs., 36 Degrees : Jewels , 3 Days Out of Rikers Island and Asleep at "Pizza Shop" on Avenue A

Friday, March 21, 2008


Behold ! Monkey Isle , Paradise for the Furry ! : Amy and Jewels Together Again in Tompkins Square Park ...

Amy with clown nose and circus tickets for her and Jewels .

A preliminary mini -maquette for their children's story about "Monkey Island".

After a difficult night at a city shelter and a few of beers Jewels sleeps on a park bench in Tompkins Square Park . Friends , including a white rat looking for a warm pocket in which to sleep , were there with him to welcome him back to the park .
Night-before-last Biker Bill told us that he had spent some time with Amy and Jewels at recently re-decorated Stanley's apartment on 5th street (see the apartment in its previous state here at NMNL) . This was the first that we had heard that Jewels was finally out of jail ( see his arrest here at NMNL)and back in the East Village . As Biker Bill related his experiences that evening at Stanley's it seemed that all was well .
Today on Avenue A we met a very concerned and unhappy Amy who told us that Jewels was in the park with his friends and that he had been drinking. He had spent a difficult night in a city shelter and on leaving the shelter was early in the day overtaken by a feeling of considerable uneasiness . He started his day with a beer in the morning and just continued drinking .
We walked into TSP with Amy looking for Jewels who when we found him was sleeping on a park bench surrounded by a few of his friends and acquaintances .
Amy read a more finished version of her and Jewel's tale of "Monkey Island" and the pirates .The story is a delightful children's story that she is trying to get published . Jewels has finished his part , the rhyming , and she will soon finish her illustrations for the tale .
She also told us that she was hoping to go to the circus in the evening with Jewels . She spoke of meeting the elephants and learning something of juggling from a clown before the big show began . She had purchased the tickets months ago with this special day in mind but now with Jewels drinking again she did not know whether or not her special night at the circus with Jewels would ever happen .
While Amy was in the park women's room Jewels woke-up and quite aggressively attacked us throwing perhaps a dozen punches and spitting . Nothing connected and we simply walked away .
From Jewel's perspective as he expressed it , which was perhaps enriched in it's reality by a few beers , NMNL was the reason that he spent 8 months at Ryker's Island . Actually 1 individual pressed charges against Jewels for attacking him with a cane ,grabbing his throat and demanding money, all on the avenue A sidewalk ( the arrest can be seen here at NMNL) . We were a witness to this event . Nonetheless we did have to contend for a while with some flying fists and some gobs and some spray of jewel's saliva .
Later in the day we learned that Jewel's was not in the mood to attend the circus with Amy in the evening , an event that she had been looking forward to for months and an event for which she had spent a good bit of money buying the tickets . According to Biker Bill , Barnacle Bill and Jay some of the Tompkins Square Park elders persuaded Jewels to understand that it was in his interest to get into the requisite mood and join Amy at the circus in the evening . We hope that Amy and Jewels enjoyed their evening together at the circus with the elephants ,clowns and all .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Multi-Agency Saturday Night Inspection at Odessa Bar ...

Saturday night NYPD 9th precinct , NYPD Legal Dept. , NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection , NYC Dept of Health , NYC Dept. of Buildings and FDNY conducted a multi-agency inspection of the venerable neighborhood institution , Odessa Bar and Cafe , at 117 Avenue A . General conditions were observed , a variety of required city permits were checked and the liquor was inspected .
Such co-ordinated multi-agency inspections are a routine procedure . With the proliferation of bars and community complaints concerning bars such inspections are occurring more frequently today in the East Village .
Needless to say the clientele was not at ease in the midst of a bar full of cops , especially if they were under-age , and most got the hell out of the bar in a hurry .
We do not know the results of the inspection . NYPD personnel at the site noted that the bar had recently sold to minors on at least two occaisions .


Late Night Sunday in Times Square ...

Lights still on and brighter than ever ...

Monday, March 17, 2008


Crane Collapse at 303 East 51st Street in Manhattan...

To enlarge images simply click on them .

All pictures of the crane collapse on 51st street were taken between the hrs. of 10PM 08 03 15 and 12AM 08 03 16 .

Above : The 3 mooring collars stacked one on another .

To the right note the orange handled "come-alongs" with chain still attatched to the upper-most collar . Note also the frayed yellow straps , the remains of a rigger's "sling" , hanging from the orange "come-alongs" . Apparently these are the straps that failed and allowed the upper-most collar that was being installed to fall , sliding down the tower like a curtain ring down a curtain rod , shearing all of the tower tie-beams or struts from their respective mooring collars below on it's way down , sending all three collars and most of the tie beams to the base of the tower . .

To the left note the dark grayish struts used to connect the collars to the building that have fallen from their positions above at the 9th and second floors .

One of the remaining struts at the 9th floor. This strut was connected to a collar at the level of the 9th floor . The falling collar from above severed the connection of this strut to its collar sending the collar to the base of the tower .

Considerable energy was required to shear through this connection and also crack and permanently deflect the section of concrete slab which supported this strut .

At the tip of the strut it can be seen that connection holes have simply been torn out .

View west down 51st street .

Remaining strut on deflected slab at site of 9th floor connection to building .

At the top of building note 3 struts that were intended to be connected to the upper-most collar that fell during installation procedures.

View east down 51st street .

The portion of the tower that was immediately below the crane operating machinery resting where the small building at 305 west 50th street once was .

A tower crane of design similar to the one that collapsed . This crane is properly rigged and secured to a building now under construction at 20 east 23rd street .

Typical mooring collar, tower and strut details at 20 east 23rd street . The collars in combination with the struts secure the tower to the building . This mooring assembly transfers horizontal loads generated by the eccentric loading of the operating machinery above and by winds . The collars and strut assemblies also resist torque , that is twisting , in the tower generated by the rotation of the operating machinery above as it rotates with suspended loads .

A Favelle-Favco crane very much like the one that collapsed on 51st street .This crane failed at 110 3rd avenue in late September of 2006 . This crane was also owned by New York Crane and failed during the process of changing the height of the crane . In this case lowering rather that elevating the crane as on 51st street .
Above it can be seen that the restraining pocket for 40,000 pounds of counter weights has been severely damaged , crumpled and torn , during 4 foot drop in crane height .
If this pocket had torn completly through the counter weights would have plummeted to ground leaving the crane , with a 14000 pound concrete cube at the end of the boom , severely out of balance . In such a condition the crane could possibly have toppled into buildings along 3rd avenue .

Above and 2 Below : The massive and extravagant half-block of an edifice known as the Bear Sterns building at 383 Madison Avenue . Though this building will survive well into the 21st century , Bear Sterns as we have known it in the past will not . This company which survived the "Great Depression" was bought this last weekend for $2/share by JPMorgan Chase .

At around 2 PM Saturday afternoon , 15 March 2008 , a Favelle-Favco tower crane owned by New York Crane collapsed at 303 east 51st street .
The details of the collapse have been adequately reported in the local papers ; the NY post , the NY Daily News and the NY Times ; so we will not make an attempt to exhaustively cover all the details here .
At least 7 people died because of this event . More than 24 people were injured . As of this writing 300 residential units have been vacated , 17 buildings , by the Dept. of Buildings . 7 buildings were damaged , one of which was completely destroyed .
The immediate area around the collapse is still inaccesssable to the general public .
Much has been made of the 40 complaints to the DOB and the 13 violations issued . Anyone can go to and look at the DOB building profile for this building and reveiw all complaints and violations .
We have looked at the profile and found nothing there that can point to anyone as being responsible for this collapse . The crane perhaps ideally should have been supported with a tie a little lower than where a tie was ultimately attempted . This , though , did not cause this crane to collapse .
Someone perhaps made a mistake , or perhaps some chain or some nylon composite strapping failed . Why ? Today we do not know . Perhaps the only ones that do know are dead.
NYPD has siezed a large part of the crane as evidence and finally the District Attorney has begun an investigation . It simply required a construction disaster that produced some dead people for the DA to get involved in investigating a chaotic , too hurried , recklessly negligent and deadly construction industry ...and perhaps here we also should recommend that the DA's office take a look at the DOB's policies and personnel too .
Today everyone in the developement and construction industries is in a hurry . Construction costs are rising significantly every month .If a contractor is behind schedule a few months he can lose any hope of a profit simply because material prices have risen high enough to eat-up his hoped for profit .Even if the contractor is not behind schedule , construction materials costs are rising so rapidly that by the end of the job the rising costs have eaten much or all of the profit
Quality is down because really good experienced workers are few and far between .Work is being done in such a hurry that it is impossible in many instances to do a job right . A significant number of those that are doing a significant portion of the work are simply incompetant .... and to an experienced eye , indeed to any eye , it shows all over the place in this city today .
Developers are looking at a very uncertain future . With large financial intitutions that provide for market liquidity , readily available credit , such as seemingly rock-solid and venerable Bear Sterns falling in value from $170/share a year ago , to $80/share last Wednesday , to $30/share last Friday , to a sale price of $2/share on Sunday last , what credit will be available to anyone ? .Who knows whats next ? What will fail next ?...and how many upscale potential condo purchasers will still have a job and any wealth by the end of the year . The market for condos and rentals according to the predictions of many analysts will quite likely shrink considerably by the latter part of this year .
So ...everyone's in a hurry to get their buildings built and sold or filled with renters . Did this mad rush have anything to do with this crane collapse ? Who knows ...perhaps . Today we simply do not know who or what , in any reliable detail at least , is responsible for this tragic event .
The hurry-up attitude though did play a part in another crane failure . At 110 3rd avenue in late sept. of 2006 a crane of the same manufature , Favelle-Favco , and owned by the same company , New York Crane , failed during an attempt to change the height of the crane ; in this case lowering the crane. (Please See the posts on this blog NMNL pertaining to the crane failure at 110 3rd avenue for details ....use the Blogger search feature at the left top of the page.)
The crane's owner was in a hurry to get the crane to another location . Allegedly the crane's owner being short of experienced workers put inexperinced personnel on the job of bringing down and disasssembling the crane . The job by law required that a licensed rigger be on the site supervising the lowering procedure ...there was no licensed rigger at the site . The inexperienced crew did not use the proper manufacturer supplied fixtures to attach the hydraulic jacks to the tower . The crane dropped several feet in free-fall damaging the crane to the extent that it came very close to toppling onto buildings along 3rd avenue .
Tishman Construction and others are still awaiting hearings on this failure at 110 3rd avenue which resulted in a crushed cab and several injuries .According to the DOB building profile for this building , Tishman to-date , a year-and-half later , has been fined $1500.
Perhaps more later .


NMNL Darkroom

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