Yesterday morning, a 200-foot long chunk of a rooftop parapet on a Brooklyn building collapsed onto the street. While this would be news no matter what or where it happened, the building is the Ward Bread Bakery, which happens to be one of many buildings that are being demolished for the massive Atlantic Yards project in downtown Brooklyn. The Department of Buildings is inspecting neighboring buildings and 350 people, including those living in a shelter next door, were evacuated as a precaution.

Luckily (and amazingly), no one was injured or hurt, though some cars were damaged. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn wasted no time in giving some context:

The building would be demolished to create “interim surface parking” for an indefinite period of time. The 97-year old building was denied landmark status by the City Landmarks Commission but has stood stable over nearly one century. In fact, in March, the developer removed protective sidewalk sheds from the perimeter of the building where the collapse occurred.

The city’s Building Enforcement Safety Team, or BEST Squad, which inspects buildings prior to allowing demolition, found no unsafe issues or hazardous conditions in the Ward Bakery during their pre-demolition inspection.

The only people in the building at the time were those "inspecting it as part of the process of asbestos removal," according to the Times.


The FDNY told NY1 that the cumulative effects of rain over the years, especially with last week's Nor'easter, caused the collapse. Crap, we want the DOB to inspect ALL buildings! The Empire State Development Corporation says that its representatives will be there to "assess the situation."


City Councilwoman Letitia James demanded that demolition be stopped, "This is one of number of incidents that's happened at Atlantic Yards site. It's because there is no oversight, no coordinator, no government oversight. It's just a developer run amok in the community." A Curbed tipster said, "Somebody is going to hang for this as it's a major screw up."

What do you think this means for the project? Will demolition for all buildings be re-evaluated by the city? Or will the city and state let demos to continue? And on Monday, many people were out in force to protest the beginning of demolitions to area buildings for the project.

All demolition work the Atlantic Yards project has been temporarily suspended. The Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner said in separate statemnets that demo work will be suspended until the Department of Buildings finishes its investigation into the cause for yesterday's collapse.

Top photograph by Tracy Collins on Flickr; middle and bottom photographs by Brit in Brooklyn