Cheryl Daniels started noticing the dust and noxious fumes lingering in her Upper West Side apartment house after construction began in the building last fall. Then cracks appeared in the walls. One day, her front door stopped closing properly.
The breaking point came several weeks ago during a rainstorm. Ms. Daniels was awakened by a loud noise at 6 in the morning and discovered that water was pouring through the light fixture in her hallway. Throwing on a raincoat, she hurriedly began rescuing pictures from the walls as water pooled around her ankles.
“I’m living in fear that the building is going to collapse,” said Ms. Daniels, a kindergarten teacher who has lived in her apartment for 13 years.…
Other residents tell their own horror stories. One reports the whole building shaking. The city's Department of Buildings and its Department of Housing Preservation and Development have received "dozens" of complaints, the latter issuing "many" notices of violation.
The construction is being done to renovate and expand the building's basement. The construction itself was controversial because the building is located in an historic district and is itself protected by law from most remodeling. The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission last year gave the owners, who also occupy the basement of the building, permission to "make alterations, one of which involved building a brick-clad structure in its side and rear yards."
Yet rain now pours into the building through a "gaping hole" in the ceiling.
The NY Times tried to contact the building's owners for comment:
At least three phone calls each were placed to the synagogue; to Mordechai Prager, a rabbi from the synagogue; to Itzhak Cohen, the building’s manager; and to Morris Mitrani, who was named as the building’s lawyer in a letter sent to residents. None were returned.
The building's owner? The West Side Kollel.
Is this another example of haredim behaving badly? It sure looks like it.