Monday, December 23, 2013

Wind Shield

Patented on July 28, 1914. On this day, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


On Friday, I discovered this cigar box at one of my job sites, embedded in the cinder fill section of the roof slab and uncovered during our parapet replacement work.

The building is located in Manhattan on Second Avenue and East 19th Street and was constructed in the 1920s.

This is the same building as my Wednesday, July 11, 2012 post, featuring brickwork manufactured by Staples.

The packaging is so intricately designed with Art Deco motifs and the colors are amazingly brilliant after all these years. I haven't attempted to clean the debris from the box yet since the paper is very delicate.

I found a photo on Blogger David B. Finlayson page of a Bayuk tin box, that might have held the paper cartons like the one I found.

Discoveries like this one, artifacts of the day laborers past that helped build our city are mind blowing. I've seen workers still leave their mark for our predecessors to find in the future. Like this one that was drawn into the leveling slab in a bathroom alteration on Park Avenue last year. It bares no name or date. Just a small marker for the location of origin.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Manhattan Beach Sunset

The end of Corbin Place resembles the way I remember it as a child.  The 10-foot high chain link fence is gone, allowing you to peak onto Brighton Beach.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Sparrow real estate in urban infrastructure.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

When will the dust and mud be gone?

It's been almost a month since Hurricane Sandy and Manhattan Beach is still covered in dusty mud. People continue to clear debris and destroyed items from their houses. I saw something that reminded me of an antique looking wurlitzer-like piano brought out from a basement. It's eery to see the white-glazed highrise on West End and Oriental is still missing its balcony railings.
Ocean Avenue
Sunken steps at Beaumont & Esplanade
Oriental Boulevard
Beaumont Street
St. Margaret Mary Parish grounds
St. Margaret Mary Parish grounds

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MTA sends train components to Rockaways

I don't know why I have such a soft spot for the mechanics of the MTA subway system all the time.  But the Gothamist's feature on the MTA's photos of train cabs being sent to the Rockaways pulls some more heartstrings:

In other MTA news, the D and F train service has been restored to Stillwell Avenue as of this morning.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It was strange to return to Manhattan for work today, having not been in the city since October 26.  I couldn't help but think about the elderly people I hear are trapped at the upper floors of many Coney Island apartment buildings with few resources and visitors.  My attempts to contact volunteer agencies that bring food and supplies up to the 7th through 20th floor were not fruitful.  Hikes up the unlit stairwells, I was told, are only done during daylight hours. So I will not be able to put my pipe scaffolding climbing stamina to good use yet.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Red Stickers

DOB inspectors are on Corbin Place checking for structural stability issues. Photographed building numbers 286 and noted 295.

As per

The Department of Buildings has to send an inspector to the Zone A buildings one by one to determine whether they're safe and structurally sound, Bloomberg said at a press conference.
Larger buildings will be allowed to self-certify whether their buildings are safe to enter, Bloomberg said.

Red stickers mean the buildings are not safe to enter, yellow means caution, and green stickers mean you can enter, Bloomberg said.

More information can be found here from the Buildings' Department website:
A NYC Department of Buildings green sticker issued after inspection authorizes re-occupancy of such building. In lieu of a Department inspection, an owner may obtain a green sticker upon satisfaction of both of the following:

1. Submission to the NYC Department of Buildings of a certified report by a NYS licensed professional engineer or registered architect certifying the following:
• There is no standing water in the building;
• The building is structurally sound;
• All required life safety systems, including but not limited to, fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipes,
carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, are intact and in good working order;
• If there is an elevator, at least one working elevator serves all floors; and
• The building is otherwise safe to occupy.
2. The building has electrical power or a working emergency generator to power all required life safety systems.

All submissions including certified reports in accordance with the above shall be submitted to the following email address or to one of the Department
Borough Offices. For any variation from the above requirements, the NYS licensed professional engineer or registered architect must first submit a request for variation determination to

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane damage in Brooklyn

My family and I were lucky. We returned to Manhattan Beach Tuesday afternoon to assess the situation and found we only had 4 to 5 inches of salt water and sand sewer back-up in the basement and no power, hot water or landline telephone service.

What we saw on our drive from Sunset Park to Manhattan Beach is still hard to believe -- broken railings along the parkway, broken balcony railings along tall buildings, sand and soil everywhere, flooded streets, shifted cars, uprooted trees and sidewalk flags. Magically, United Methodist Church looks the same from the exterior. I don't know about the inside yet.  I've been busy cleaning out the basement in the daylight hours that I haven't had a chance to check on St. Margaret Mary Church or the remaining dead end blocks.  Unbelievably, the rocks along the esplanade at Corbin Place were thrown out into the street by the force of the storm. I'm sure the same might be found from West End Avenue to Exter Street. Damage is evident on the ocean side of 295 and 286 Corbin Place.  Other neighbors reported the same sewer back up problems, with some continuing even after the storm.

Belt Parkway - October 31, 2012

Shifted/broken railings along the Belt Parkway esplanade

Sheepshead Bay - October 30, 2012

West End Avenue and Oriental Boulevard

Broken storefront glass at the corner store and Ginger Rose
at Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue.
Broken lobby window at West End Avenue & Cass Place.

Manhattan Beach - October 31, 2012
Broken railings at the 4th and 10th floors on Oriental Boulevard
and West End Avenue.

Missing railings at the 6th floor on Oriental Boulevard and West End Avenue.

Corbin Place

October 31, 2012 view of 286 Corbin Place.

Google Street View snapshot of 286 Corbin Place before storm.

Google Street View snapshot of 286, 295 and dead end of Corbin Place before storm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012