We've known for a while that the cabbage factory next door was going to get torn down and turned into shitty overpriced condos, so when I heard jackhammers out front this morning, I expected the worst.
I looked up the address on the DOB website, but couldn't decipher whether or not the demolition permits had been granted. I could tell they'd been applied for but they use all this weird coding that normal people without an extensive construction background can't understand. So I called 311 and attempted to talk to a human.
The operator connected me to the Department of Buildings, where a cheery young woman informed me that I'd have to look on the website to see if there were any permits.
I told her that I'd done that, but couldn't decipher what the codes meant. I asked her to help me figure it out and offered to give her all identifying details. She refused.
I didn't understand, as I just wanted to know what a bunch of letters meant. She cheerfully restated her position that the only thing she could do was direct me to the website and wondered aloud whether they were doing work without a permit.
BUT YOU WON'T TELL ME WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE A PERMIT!!!! I may have yelled.
She kind of chuckled by way of reply and asked what exactly was going on. I told her they were jackhammering the sidewalk and wanted to know whether or not they were erecting a fence so they could demo.
"Oh, they're working on the sidewalk," she said, like this was an entirely new matter altogether. "I can see if they have a permit from the Department of Transportation."
"Wait, so you can tell me whether or not they have a permit from the DOT, but you won't tell me whether if they have a DOB—your own agency—permit?" I asked.
"Yep," she chirped. "Oooh, they don't have a DOT permit, here, let me connect you to the Department of Transportation." I'm sure it will come as a surprise to no one that nobody picked up that line. I finally just hung up and went down and asked the construction dudes. Apparently there's some problem with the water main.
But what the fuck kind of crazytown fucked up logic is that? The DOB won't tell you if they've issued a permit, yet they can tell you if some other, unrelated, agency has?!
Anyway, my downstairs neighbor did a little digging and found out that the demo company hired to tear down the cabbage factory—Marie Grasso's MMG Design—has a long history of being incompetent, shady, and generally very scary. Did I mention that the building is also a hazmat site, so they should probably be extra careful? Yeah, neato.
As I've lamented before, my building is held together with the construction equivalent of a couple matchsticks, a few wads of tissue, all cemented together with some used chewing gum. I'm really not sure it can withstand the rigors of a botched demo job performed by drunken men on backhoes. What happens when your building comes down due to some corrupt asshole's incompetence? I have insurance, but I don't have the kind of income that will make moving very easy.
I am so over this city.