Dozens of families that occupied approximately 30 apartments in an East Harlem apartment house found themselves out on the street yesterday, with what little belongings they could gather together as they were hustled from their homes. The Dept. of Buildings condemned the structure on 2nd Ave. and 120th St., noting that several partitions had recently been removed from the building's basement, causing the building's floor to sag in a sign of potential imminent collapse.
In March, the DOB came under extreme criticism for failing to follow up on a building on 124th St. that crumbled and then collapsed under its own weight, causing the suspension of Metro-North traffic and creating a major commuter headache. The DOB admitted that it knew that the building was in danger of collapse, but that it never followed through on the matter.
Dept. Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resigned her position several weeks later in the wake of a crane collapse that killed four people and brought to light that regulations and complaints were being ignored, and some building inspectors simply were faking their jobs. The political pressure and a growing backlash against New York City's runaway building boom soon proved too much for Lancaster.
It appears that the DOB is no longer taking any chances with people's lives, even if it does leave them out on the street. The Harlem residents who now find themselves without a home are being aided by the Red Cross.