Volume 22, Number 05 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 19 - 25, 2009
Downtown Express photos by J.B. Nicholas
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week toured Fiterman Hall, the college building badly damaged on 9/11. The long-awaited demolition is expected to begin next month and end in October.
A tour before Fiterman’s takedown
One month ago, anyone who entered Fiterman Hall had to don hazmat gear. A month from now, the demolition of the building will be underway.
But last Thursday, in the narrow window between cleaning the building and demolishing it, the project managers led a tour of the empty structure. A former Borough of Manhattan Community College classroom building, the 15-story Fiterman Hall was heavily damaged on 9/11 by the collapse of 7 World Trade Center.
Fiterman Hall is scheduled to begin coming down in the first week of July and contractors expect the building to be gone by October.
Evidence of the building’s former life is all but gone now, with little remaining but concrete floor plates, exposed columns and dangling light bulbs. Fences enclosed in netting mark off debris chutes, and a rebuilt fire stairwell cuts through the empty floors. On the south side of the building, termed the “gash area,” twisted steel and crumbled concrete show the impact 7 W.T.C. had when it tore off part of Fiterman Hall’s facade.
The collapse of 7 W.T.C. literally rocked the building, said Benn Lewis, vice president of Airtek Environmental Corp., the project’s environmental consultant. Many of the steel connectors that joined the building’s beams buckled under the pressure, and it would have cost more money to repair the building than to take it down, Lewis said.
Looking out over the gash area onto the park in front of 7 W.T.C., Lewis said the sprawling view will be similar to the one from the double-height lounges Pei Cobb Freed designed for the new building, which will open in 2012.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who organized the tour for his Fiterman Hall community advisory council, said he was impressed by the progress.
“Next time we will see an empty lot here, hopefully in November,” he said after the tour.
— Julie Shapiro