Under Cover, week of Mar. 17, 2016

New-UnderCover-StatueResidents issue stop-work order to ‘Independent Republic of 60 Hudson’

There will be no more cranes in front of 60 Hudson St., the site of last month’s deadly construction accident in Tribeca, according to locals – even if they have to block the site with their own bodies.

“There’ll be people lying on that street before another crane goes up,” said Brian O’Rourke, who lives and works at 13 Worth St., across the street from the building where a 565-foot crawler crane keeled over and killed a man on Feb. 5.

At a Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee meeting on Mar. 9, Worth St. residents once again slammed the “Independent Republic of 60 Hudson” — as one of them called the building’s management — for not heeding their warnings about the crane, and being unresponsive to their complaints for years.

But instead of the building’s management, they were left to address Brian Maddox, an external spokesperson hired to represent the building — and they weren’t happy about it.

“You seem like a nice guy,” CB1 member Bruce Ehrmann told Maddox, “but 60 Hudson has never seen fit to bring anyone other than a hired PR person to these meetings. There’s the sense of this PR filter.”

Ehrmann didn’t exactly kill the messenger, but he did take serious issue with the message.

“You’re saying that they want to be a good neighbor — after a decade of being a terrible neighbor — it’s preposterous,” he said.

CB1 members, including chairwoman  Catherine McVay Hughes, urged Maddox to convince a real representative from the building’s management to show up to an upcoming meeting at the office of state Sen. Daniel Squadron, who has formed a task force to deal with the impending years-long Worth St. reconstruction project.

But the public relations rep, who said the building was trying to be “a member of the community,” said he couldn’t make any promises.

“I can’t tell you that, and you know that,” he told the committee.

In the end, no matter who shows up or what those discussions might yield, one thing is clear for the people living on the block: another crane is out of the question.

“We’ve said for 20 years that you’re life-threatening,” O’Rourke told Maddox. “Now you’ve been life-taking. We’re done.”

— Yannic Rack

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