2007_03_harlembldg.jpgThe Department of Buildings ordered workers to "immediately demolish" the rest of a Harlem building that partially collapsed yesterday morning. The vacant building's roof suddenly fell as workers had been preparing it for demolition. One witness told the Post, "I heard a loud noise. The building started shaking. It was moving and cracking. Then there was a cloud. The cloud was faster than me. By the time I crossed the street it had completely covered me."

Luckily, there were no major injuries (only the foreman suffered an arm injury), but residents in neighboring buildings were evacuated and subway service along the 4, 5, and 6 was disrupted in fears that further vibrations from the Lexington line would affect the building at Lexington and 115th. In fact, there are still subway delays today (plus the 6 is bypassing the 116th stop), so keep that in mind as you commute. And it's not clear when residents will be able to return to their homes.

The building was built in the 1920s and had been vacant for over 20 years. City Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, whose office is a block away, told amNew York, "With all the gentrification that is occurring there is an incentive for owners who have been negligent all this time to finally do something with their buildings. It's time we look at the existing regulations to make sure this doesn't keep happening."

Photograph by 1010WINS