Faux snow falls in Fidi

Debris from a Fulton Street construction site resembled falling snow in Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Amanda Timchak

BY COLIN MIXSON

Lower Manhattan had a white October!

Insulation work at a Fulton Street construction site dumped a flurry of foam particles on Lower Manhattan over the course of several days earlier this month, creating an effect like warm-weather snow that covered city streets for several blocks around the worksite with the puffy white stuff, according to witnesses.

“It was falling like a blizzard, not even joking,” said Manny Correa, a concierge at a residential building across the street from the Fulton Street worksite between Broadway and Nassau Street.

The foam snowstorm started up on Oct. 2, and locals spotted the flecks of falling insulation from as far away as City Hall Park, about three blocks from where the 30-story hotel is going up, according to Nassau Street resident Carrie Mulholland.

Across the street from the construction site, workers at a GNC store said the faux snow kept blowing in through their front door, and Correa said the foam piled up so fast in the lobby of his building that he “couldn’t sweep enough of it.”

The insulation debris could be seen in street cracks and flowing into storm drains for days following the unseasonal October “snow.”
Photo by Amanda Timchak

Street cleaners got some of the foam, but the stuff can still be found in cracks, along curbs and flowing into storm drains all around the worksite, according to Fulton Street resident Amanda Timchak.

“It’s floating all around the streets,” said Timchak. “It’s in every little puddle in the Financial District.”

The white debris came from insulation being installed along the exterior of the sky-high hotel, which was sanded off by workers in order to fit the foam panels together, according to Elias Nelon, a supervisor overseeing work on the hotel.

The contractor was able to fix the problem by installing a vacuum on the sanders workers used to smooth out the insulation, and by Oct. 6 the company had reduced the amount of debris generated by the work by 90-percent, Nelon said.

Inspectors from the Department of Buildings swung by the worksite four times from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6, but didn’t notice any violations of the city’s building code, according to spokesman Andrew Rodansky.

The city agency registered an additional 311 complaint following the Oct. 6 inspection — and after Nelon claimed the problem was fixed — and another DOB appraisal is forthcoming, Rodansky said.

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