Nosy Neighbor: What’s Happening at 87 Leonard?

87 Leonard at night 62513I have got a question about what’s happening with the 87-89 Leonard renovation. The work seems to have stopped, probably around late April, and the lights on the third floor are left on all night (they are not dim), and more problematic, the windows are not secured. All the windows leading out the fire escape are open and have been open for over a month. With the scaffolding up, someone can easily climb up and access the inside of the building and the roof. I don’t know if any of the “Cat Burglar” activity has taken place on the north side of Leonard between Broadway and Church, but if it has, I would not be surprised if the access was through this neglected site. (You could access every building on the block from this property.) Can you find out if they’ll finish the job? Or at least if they’ll turn the lights off and close and lock the windows? —A.

I’ve been fascinated by this landmarked building for a long time, because it has always been hard to find out what’s happening there. So I wasn’t too hopeful…. But then I managed to find an application on the DOB website (my ability to drill down anywhere useful is touch and go); the building is being converted from commercial to residential, with 4,987 square feet being added to the top (in duplexes).

I called Go Cat Go, and this time someone talked to me. He said that most work was paused while they “redo the budget,” and that the building could end up being condos or rentals, depending on the market.

As for the windows, he said they’ve been open because all the recent rain left some moisture that they’re trying to get rid of, and that workers are indeed inside during the day. (I mentioned the burglar, but I’m not sure the message got through.) And the lights? According to Go Cat Go, its insurance company actually requires they be left on at night, to deter intruders.

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  1. I live across the street and my apartment faces down to the building. There’s an unfinished addition to the roof but it’s no where near the size of an extra floor or two for a duplex. It’s more like an addition for the mechanicals of an elevator. There are also at least a half dozen or so boxes of huge fans or ac units or something that were crane’d up there a few months ago and haven’t been moved since.

  2. @lowphat: You’re right. Now that I look at the DOB forms more closely, the duplexes are on 5 and 6 (existing floors), so the addition is likely just for mechanicals

  3. Oh the irony. The windows have been open for months. They are much more likely the cause of rather than the solution to the wet conditions. Can’t they just leave open those windows not adjacent to the fire escape or the ones on the rear of the building so as not to invite intruders?
    Re the lights, they might be a deterrent if they weren’t isolated to one floor and instead the whole building was lit up (as a nearby resident, I am not encouraging this course of redress) but a better deterrent would be not providing ready access to the inside.