Residents at an Upper East Side building evacuated Thursday after a huge crack was found in a wall had told the city three times that their homes shook during construction – including during the building of the Second Avenue subway.
The Department of Buildings received complaints going back to 2009 from people describing the tremors at 300 East 96th St., at the corner of Second Avenue. The first, in 2009, happened while the crews dug the tunnel for Second Avenue subway nearby.
“The [building] is shaking due to the construction on the 2nd avenue subway,” the complaint reads. “They started at 7:30 and the shaking began at that time.”
Another two complaints, received in 2016 and 2017, came as a high-rise tower was being built next door.
An MTA spokesperson did not immediately respond to Patch’s request for comment.
The DOB investigation into the building that started after the crack was found Thursday is still ongoing, a department spokesman told Patch. The DOB issued a full evacuation order was issued, the spokesman said.
The 2017, 2016 and 2009 complaints prompted DOB inspections, but no actions were taken against building owners, according to records. Each DOB inspector noted that no shaking, vibrating or building damage was noticed at the time of inspection.
Twenty-five residential apartments and one retail store were forced to vacate, the DOB spokesman said. The displaced residents are being helped to find accommodation by the American Red Cross, the spokesman said.
Residents and building management had been aware of the crack in the building’s walls but waited until Thursday to call the FDNY, ABC 7 first reported. The building management had reportedly been trying to fix the crack.
“I was going to work and they had 2x4s laid out, and when I got home outside my door they had those laid out and then pipes going up and I knew something was going on,” building resident Paul Sheldon told ABC 7.
The building is managed by real estate firm Walter & Samuels, according to the firm’s website.
“The building was safely evacuated,” a spokeswoman for the management firm told Patch in a statement. “All precautionary measures are being taken while we work with City agencies and await further news about the building’s condition and any damage that surrounding construction projects may have caused.”
Fire officials told ABC 7 that it was a good thing that residents contacted the department Thursday.
“They had an engineer on the scene and they felt they had it under control, ultimately they were wrong,” FDNY Chief Roger Sakowich told the news station.