Partial stop work order issued for 200 Amsterdam after wet concrete hits playground

September 20, 2019

Rendering of 200 Amsterdam courtesy of Binyan Studios

Update 9/20/19: NYC Parks reopened P.S. 199’s playground on Friday after determining the area was no longer at risk. SJP Properties, the developer of 200 Amsterdam Avenue, said in a statement: “We are pleased that the school park has been reopened following review by the school and Parks Department, which deemed the area safe.”

Wet concrete fell 55 stories from an under-construction Upper West Side tower on Wednesday, hitting a school playground below. The Department of Buildings issued the condo project at 200 Amsterdam Avenue a partial stop work order to prevent work above 40 stories on that side. A parent told West Side Rag that his son and his friends were hit by the falling concrete while playing at P.S. 199’s playground during recess, but no injuries have been officially reported to the DOB.

In addition to the stop work order, the DOB issued violations to the general contractor Pavarini McGovern LLC and to concrete subcontractor RNC Industries LLC. An investigation is still ongoing.

P.S. 199’s morning dropoff and dismissal take place at the playground, forcing the school to close the area temporarily. Principal Louise Xerri emailed parents that the playground was closed “due to safety concerns stemming from construction behind the basketball court area,” as Gothamist reported.

The incident comes just five months after it was reported a wooden board fell from the 26th floor of 200 Amsterdam, landing in the driveway of the residential building next door, Lincoln Towers. A partial stop work order was issued in April, but was soon lifted after SJP Properties, the developer of the skyscraper, provided DOB with a safety plan.

“This is troubling given the threat to the health and safety of PS 199 students and sounds eerily familiar given the previous issue 200 Amsterdam Avenue had with falling debris into the Lincoln Towers driveway,” the unnamed father who said his son was hit by debris told West Side Rag.

“It is a real shame because the kids won’t be able to use the playground and have recess. I am a Lincoln Towers resident and feel that this building has been a total hazard during construction.”

In a statement to West Side Rag, SJP Properties blamed a “gust of wind” for causing the concrete dust to fall through the safety netting. “We have stopped all exterior work on the building while we implement additional safety at and around the development site and will continue to be our top priority,” the spokesperson said.

The tower, set to be one of the tallest on the Upper West Side at 668 feet when it tops out this month, has faced backlash from local community members and public officials. Last year, the Municipal Art Society and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development filed a lawsuit against the building, claiming the developer assembled an illegal zoning lot that was 10 times larger than the building’s planned footprint in order to construct a taller tower.

After the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) approved the project last year, the state’s Supreme Court overruled, ordering the group to review the project’s permit again. In June, the BSA upheld its initial approval of the tower, allowing the project to proceed with construction. The two groups jointly filed in July an Article 78 petition to challenge the board’s decision.

Despite legal challenges, 200 Amsterdam launched sales earlier this month, with one-bedroom condos starting at over $2.6 million. Two duplex penthouses will ask about $40 million each.

[Via West Side Rag]


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