Building evacuated in Chinatown

August 5, 2009 9:37:49 PM PDT
At first, this evacuation appeared to be temporary, maybe a day or two. Turns out, this building is so unstable, so dangerous, that it's going to be demolished. "It's unfair. New York City is just unfair." Wallace Lei said.

Lei is carrying thousands of dollars of restaurant supplies out of his noodle house. As of 3:30 Wednesday, the restaurant is closed and so are 16 apartments at 128 Hester Street in Chinatown.

The Buildings Department says tenants are at risk if they stay in the unstable six-story building.

"The building has been in neglect for a long time. They haven't fixed the building," said Chris Kui of Asian Americans for Equality.

Long-time residents slowly made their way out of the apartment building and onto a bus waiting to take them to a Red Cross-sponsored hotel. They will have just a few hours on Thursday to clear out their things. Some tenants say their repeated complaints were ignored.

"There was no monitoring. No corrective action. Nothing done today until this happened and all of these people's lives were turned upside down," Councilman Alan Gerson said.

What appears to have finally doomed the building was construction of a high-rise hotel next door. Now more than thirty people are homeless, left to find another place to live.

"When we first moved in the floor was slanted. We just assumed that's how it was. We didn't know it was a problem," tenant Mei Chen said.

Obviously, it was a major problem. The 60 or so tenants have from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 Thursday to clear out their things.

Eyewitness News did contact the property manager. He says he's just concerned about the safety of the residents and has always responded to their concerns.

The building will be demolished within a month.


MORE NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

USEFUL LINKS:
SEND TIP OR PHOTO  || REPORT TYPO ||  GET WIDGET

 EYEWITNESS TWITTER ||  FIND US ON FACEBOOK


Load Comments