Volume 20, Number 47 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | APRIL 4-10, 2008

‘X’ marks the F.D.N.Y. warning spot at Bouley site

As wailing sirens converged at the site of David Bouley’s new restaurant Brushstrokes at 109 W. Broadway, it appeared that the celebrity chef had escaped the frying pan only to land in the fire.

Just the day before, on March 25, Bouley had won a drawn-out battle with Community Board 1 over a liquor license for Brushstrokes, which is under construction. Less than 24 hours later, at least five fire engines descended on 109 W. Broadway, the old Delphi Restaurant building, blocking off Reade St.

Concerned neighbors peered out their windows, seeing no smoke, fire or anything else out of order. It turned out that a tipster had called the Fire Department saying there was a crack in the building’s foundation, and after investigating, the F.D.N.Y. called in the Buildings Department.

The D.O.B. issued a stop-work order, saying the structure was unstable. Inspectors issued a violation for failing to carry out demolition operations safely, saying workers removed a wooden floor joist without providing shoring.

A Bouley representative did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

On their way out, firefighters climbed a ladder to spray paint two large red rectangles crossed with X’s on the side of the building.

“That means it’s a dangerous building to go into,” an F.D.N.Y. spokesman said. “It means: Use extreme caution — don’t even go in [during a fire] unless there are reports of civilians or squatters.”

Above the two floors and basement that Brushstrokes will occupy sit three floors that have remained vacant for years, said Neil Winokur, who lives at 16 Hudson St. and watched the activity at 109 W. Broadway from his window.

The Brushstrokes building, which still has signs for Delphi Restaurant, is landmarked. Most of the windows on the first floor are covered with brown paper, but a peek through one window reveals a frozen construction site. Naked light bulbs hang from the ceiling, illuminating stacks of wooden boards and a bare-bones staircase. The restaurant is supposed to open later this year.

--Julie Shapiro



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