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BY KAITLYN MEADE | A falling pipe on Rector St. shook residents and workers last Friday in the Financial District when it tumbled from the half-constructed Holiday Inn at 99 Washington St.
The intersection was the landing site of a pipe that crashed onto the street, former Community Board 1 member Maria Smith told Downtown Express. Smith said she and her boss were walking from their office on the north side of Rector St. on Friday, August 23 at 12:30 p.m.
“We heard this big bang and we literally huddled under the scaffolding until it stopped,” she said. “We only saw one… a piece of copper piping, 6-8 inches [long], a hollow pipe, fell into the middle of the street…. It was scary; there were a lot of people [in the area].”
She said the foreman came over and took the pipe from her. It was about a half-inch in diameter. “It wasn’t that big but it was enough that it could have hurt someone.”
Smith said that persistent construction in the area where she has lived for the last 22 years has led to several close calls.
The construction at 99 Washington St., which began in 2011 after stalling due to the financial crash in 2008, is one of several high-rise developments near the World Trade Center. Designed by architect Gene Kaufman and developed by Sam Chang, it will be the tallest Holiday Inn in the world. Cava Construction was contracted to erect the 50-story tower, which is scheduled to open in 2014.
The project has had six Environmental Control Board violations since October 2012, two of them unresolved: one for work without a permit and another for installation and operation of mast climbers without certification.
Smith said she called her complaint into 311 and also called Robin Forst of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.
In a phone interview with Downtown Express, Forst replied that she forwarded the complaint to the city Department of Buildings and is waiting to hear back.
She said that the complaint against 99 Washington was the first she had heard of “in a long time. There have been no problems that I’m aware of, let’s put it that way,” she added.
The Department of Buildings did not respond to a request for comment by press time.