Friday, December 11, 2015

#600.1 Update on First Av. closure

UPPER EAST SIDE — Police continue to block off parts of East 63rd Street to traffic and pedestrians three days after bricks rained down onto the roadway from a building under construction. A wall of bricks tumbled off the facade of 340 E. 64th St., near First Avenue, and onto East 63rd Street on Monday at around the same time as Monica & Xavi walk up 63rd to go to swimming, and while no was hurt during the incident, East 63rd Street, from York to Second avenue, and First Avenue, from East 62nd to East 64th streets, remains closed until the city determines they're safe for pedestrians, according to a Department of Buildings spokesman. The building was undergoing renovation at the time, including work on its facade, roof and terraces, according to DOB records.
While some Upper East Siders said the street closures are inconvenient, others said it was a welcome relief from the heavy traffic that usually takes over the area. "It's wonderful," said East 63rd Street resident Jay Katz. "I hope they keep it closed. This is the loudest street in New York." Katz, who moved to the block four months ago, said he can't sleep at night without running his air conditioner to block out the sound of honking horns caused by traffic backed up from the Queensboro Bridge, an issue that has been attributed to the timing of the street lights. "I feel unsafe here," Katz added. "It's bullsh-t that bricks have fallen and to not know the reason." Celeste J., a resident of East 63rd Street, was walking her dog west on the street until she came upon the road block. She ended up having to walk around to York Avenue and up East 64th Street instead to go home, she said. "I'm just curious why the bricks fell," she said.
Several stores are also closed off to pedestrians as well, including Lunetta Pizza, Felice, JAJ's Nails, Ahana Sushi, a wine shop, called Cork & Bottle and 16 Handles. "We have zero business right now," said Cork & Bottle owner Tom Schasar, adding that he typically gets 500 to 600 customers on an average day during the holiday season. He said he was also concerned for his nine employees who have been out of work for the past three days. "Nobody knows what theyre doing and there's no information about when they're going to have the sidewalk open." Residents of Yorkgate, at 405 E. 63rd St., told their doorman, Leo Sahiti, that its been hard to go shopping on the block, Sahiti said. "Everybody is complaining" he added.

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