Over the past few weeks, the City Council has been moving from City Hall into temporary offices on Broadway, because a $106 million renovation project is being conducted on the 198-year-old building (it was completed in 1812). The AP, which calls it "one of the nation's oldest continuously-used city halls," reports that during a smaller renovation project a few years ago, "Officials found widespread failings and alarming decay: cracks through the trusses that support the roof, a rotting basement floor, wiring that was known to spark and dangerously sagging ceilings."
In fact, city official Philip J. Kelly who is overseeing the renovations said, "It's gotten to the point where it's really bad. It has to be done. It's amazing no one's been hurt or there hasn't been a fire." Indeed: "Recently, just before repairs were to begin in a City Council hearing room, a 10-foot-long, 6-inch-wide piece of plaster molding broke away from the wall and crashed to the floor" and, starting in 2008, work was done in the west wing of the building—where Mayor Bloomberg sits— because "Engineers said the trusses would not last another winter without possibly failing, so the beams were reinforced with steel." The press corps also moved...into trailers.
One reason, other than finding more damage, the costs for the renovation have sky-rocketed? The 18th century almshouse found behind City Hall: "The area is now being dug by hand and supervised by archeologists. The dig has turned up the remains of other structures, including a water cistern and an icehouse. Evidence of daily life, including bone buttons, medicine bottles and ceramic egg holders, have also been found."