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March 2021

City Conducting Surprise Sweeps of Facade-Repair Projects

City Conducting Surprise Sweeps of Facade-Repair Projects 1500 1600 Matthew Adam Properties

The sweeps are part of the ongoing tightening of DOB rules and fines following a recent string of fatal accidents. Last summer, the collapse of a suspended scaffold rig at an 11-story Murray Hill building left one worker dead and three hospitalized. A sidewalk shed prevented debris from injuring any pedestrians. In December 2019, a piece of debris from a 17-story building near Times Square broke off and tumbled to the street, hitting a pedestrian in the head and killing her instantly. The building had recently been fined by the city for its unsafe facade. The city’s facade inspection program was born in 1980, the year after a 17-year-old Barnard College student named Grace Gold was killed by a piece of falling masonry near the corner of Broadway and 115th Street.

The DOB has recently made substantial changes to strengthen FISP, including doubling the size of its facade-inspection unit, requiring more hands-on inspections of buildings over six stories tall, increasing the frequency of DOB follow-up inspections of known unsafe facades, and greatly increasing penalties to building owners for non-compliance. (cont. below)

NY Adds Building Workers to Vax Eligibility List

NY Adds Building Workers to Vax Eligibility List 1160 772 Matthew Adam Properties

Service Employees Can Get Jabs Starting March 17


On March 9, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning March 17, essential building service workers, along with nonprofit employees and government employees who have public-facing duties, are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. New Yorkers over 60 are also included in the expanded eligibility starting March 10.

“New York is marching forward in expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine, addressing underserved communities and getting shots in arms as we turn the tide in the fight against this virus,” Cuomo said in the announcement. “Supply is steadily increasing, and we’re opening new vaccination sites and expanding eligibility to match it.”

The announcement comes after weeks of ambiguity as to whether building service workers were eligible for vaccination by default, having been deemed “essential” under Governor Cuomo’s executive order from February 11, 2020.

But now the workers who service New York’s co-ops, condos, and other types of buildings—who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since the beginning—have definitive eligibility, regardless of age and health status. This is a huge win for those in the industry who have been lobbying for their inclusion. It’s also a win for the hundreds of thousands of residents who rely on these workers every day to maintain the properties they call home.

Kyle Bragg, president of the 32BJ SEIU, the union that represents many of the state’s building service workers, said of the announcement, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for adding building service workers to the vaccine eligibility list. Building service workers have protected the city during the pandemic, and will now get the protection they need to stay safe. Building service workers like door staff, supers, cleaners, security officers, resident managers, and porters helped New Yorkers to get through the pandemic and are vital to the city’s recovery. Their health and safety is tied to the city’s health and safety.”

Eligible New Yorkers can schedule appointments at the ‘Am I Eligible’ website or by calling the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).