It’s Tuesday. We’ll see how the new high-rise buildings revealed gaps in the city’s approach to building code enforcement. But first, what to expect from the weather.


It will be a wet, messy and windy day as a threatening early season Nor’easter hits the area. “We are looking at a long lasting event,” said Brian Ciemnecki, forecaster for the National Weather Service, explaining that the rain will soak the city throughout the day and the wind will whistle through Wednesday.

But he said this storm would not be as devastating as the torrent from Hurricane Ida last month which included a fierce three-and-a-half-inch gust in an hour.

The weather service recorded 1.12 inches of rain in Central Park as of 4:30 a.m., and flash flood monitoring will remain in effect until Tuesday evening. The forecast also calls for wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour, especially along the coast, increasing the possibility of downed trees and power outages.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York and Governor Philip Murphy of New Jersey have both declared a state of emergency. And in New York, authorities have issued a travel advisory warning people who “must travel” to be careful. City officials also advised residents of basement apartments – whose vulnerability became glaring during Ida – to be prepared “to move to a higher floor during periods of heavy rains.” At least 43 people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have died as Ida flooded the area.

parking on the alternative side

In effect until November 1 (All Saints’ Day).

“Supertall” apartment buildings, the slim towers for the ultra-rich in blocks just south of Central Park, have reshaped the Manhattan skyline in recent years. They’re shiny and new, but they’re covered by old rules and regulations – written requirements when apartment buildings were constructed in the same way as pre-war buildings. Some building safety experts worry that outdated building codes are inadequate, even when followed precisely.

I asked my colleague Stefanos Chen, who spent 10 months studying supertalls and building codes, to discuss the city’s regulatory system and the implications for safety.

You discovered that none of the tallest buildings on Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan had a final certificate of occupancy, the document that says the building meets city codes and standards. How can developers sell the apartments and let people move in?

It’s sort of an open secret in New York City that some buildings never get a final occupancy certificate. Basically, there is a Certificate of Temporary Occupation, or TCO. Years ago it was decided that the whole process was expensive and bureaucratic and was delaying developers due to red tape.

So the city decided that as soon as it gets the TCO it should be enough to say the building is safe and can be occupied. Total cost of ownership was supposed to be a very high standard initially, and – thanks to the city – New York is certainly doing more than many municipalities when it comes to building safety.

But a TCO is not meant to be the end goal. The end goal is supposed to be a C. of O., as everyone calls it – a final certificate of occupancy, which is supposed to sort things out.

In the case of these eight high-rise buildings, some of the items are things you are concerned about, life safety systems – sprinklers or plumbing or elevators that did not get final approval from the required experts. . All of these systems are vital in the event of fire or other emergency situations. They are not minor.

How long do TCOs last?

You might find buildings that have been gone for sometimes over a decade by simply renewing these temporary certificates. TCOs are supposed to be renewed every 90 days. You could spend years renewing a TCO four times a year.

The system is really based on the idea that it is in the best interests of the developer to continue doing what they are supposed to be doing. Otherwise they may run into insurance issues, they may run into funding issues – banks won’t want to finance a problematic building.

And there is no direct penalty from the building department for not having obtained the final C. of O.

Within three weeks of posting an article I wrote on supertalls, the building department came up with a new voluntary program for large construction projects. The agency says this will improve safety and efficiency “from the filing of the initial application until the final approvals of the completed project.”

Don’t the risks increase as developers build taller buildings?

The complexity is not only in the height, but also in the way these new towers are constructed differently from more conventional apartment buildings. Glass facades are different from more robust brick facades. I spoke with a professor who was an expert on the Grenfell Tower in London, the residential tower that burned down in 2017. One of the concerns he has had for years is that a glass curtain wall is behaving differently at high temperatures in a fire than, say, a more substantial brick facade.

And that’s ignoring the fact that newer taller buildings have much more open floor plans than residential buildings, which could make it easier for a fire to spread.


Thomas Kenniff, the Republican candidate for Manhattan district attorney, wants to revamp “misguided criminal justice policies that embrace criminals at the expense of victims.” Like Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, Kenniff accuses a 2020 bail reform law of being responsible for spikes in certain categories of gun crime.

Kenniff’s opponent – Alvin Bragg, who won the Democratic primary in June – has a big advantage in the race, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans in Manhattan.

Hank Morris did the theatrical equivalent of going door-to-door in a political campaign, going through theaters and talking about his musical to people in line.

“What people find most interesting is when you say, ‘Andrew Cuomo is the main antagonist, and that was before recent events,’” Morris said.

Yes it’s this Hank Morris – the political consultant who pleaded guilty in 2009 to a multi-million dollar bribe scheme involving the state pension fund. Cuomo, the state attorney general at the time, took the case. The “recent events” Morris referred to included Cuomo’s resignation in August amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Unlike Alan Jay Lerner or Oscar Hammerstein II, Morris is not named by name in the credits. They say the show’s book, “A Turtle on a Fence Post,” is from prisoner 11RO731, Morris’ number for the two years he was held. With music by Austin Nuckols and lyrics by Lily Dwoskin, “Turtle” premieres tonight at Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street.

“It’s a fictional story of what happened to me,” he said. “I think I was a poster man for what happened when you didn’t do what Andrew Cuomo wanted you to do, which is to say I wouldn’t be working on his. campaigns. “

He also said the show advocates for parole reform. Morris was released after a parole hearing ordered by a judge who said he should have been released sooner.

Is working on a play like working on a political campaign?

People in the theater are “much nicer,” he said. “No one is trying to nudge someone else.”

Dear Diary:

It was in the spring of 1982, and I had recently moved to the Upper West Side. I had brought my beloved clock radio, a gift from my mother in 1968, with me.

After unpacking I found out that unfortunately it no longer worked. I took it to a repair shop a few blocks away.

The man over there examined her carefully, adjusting his knobs. After a while, he announced with regret that he couldn’t fix it.

“But I’ll tell you what you can do,” he said.

I waited impatiently for my instructions.

“Get out of the store,” he said. “Go to the corner and turn left. When you get to the end of the block you will see a trash can. Drop it.

-Jessica Lauria

Illustrated by Agnès Lee. Send your submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.