Seen & Heard: What’s Next for 111 Church?

••• C. sent over dramatic video that serves as a reminder for all of us to thank the FDNY for its efforts on the 111 Church fire. (I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to climb a ladder that high, let alone knowing that the building is on fire.) Meanwhile, the commenter going by the name of Neighbor had this to add: “Spoke to a commercial tenant from the Park Place side. Luckily no significant damage to the offices but everyone must vacate. Building is condemned.” The Department of Buildings website does indeed indicate a vacate order, because “FDNY requests a structural stability inspection due to a five-alarm fire.” I’ll check in with the DOB tomorrow to see whether the inspection has been completed—and whether the building is, in fact, condemned. There has been speculation about whether the fire was intentional, but before you insinuate arson, bear in mind that 111 Church sits outside of the historic district, so it could’ve been torn down at the owner’s discretion (and it’s not as if there were rent-control tenants anyone needed to force out). Even if the building isn’t condemned, of course, the owner might logically determine that starting over makes more sense than trying to repair it.

••• “PSA” is shooting tomorrow in the Walker/Broadway area. That would most likely stand for “public service announcement,” but who knows?

••• And “Law & Order: SVU” is back like a bad penny tomorrow in the Chambers/Broadway area.

••• Confirmation of Eyvette Boutique at 321 Broadway.

••• The buildings on the east side of W. Broadway between Warren and Murray have been reduced to a pile of rubble. The second photo shows the back windows of the New York Dolls building that I mentioned earlier. Sorry, guys, but they’re covered up.



  1. It could well be that the (Asian) restaurant cooking exhaust chimney mentioned by FDNY was not cleaned of grease every 3 months as per code or its ansul fire suppression system failed to operate for some reason. That could have started (or failed to extinguish) a fire.

  2. How do u know they couldn’t cleaned of grease every 3 months?

    • I do not know anything.

      *However, as reported in today’s Tribeca Trib, multiple tenants said the duct was leaking grease. *The super and building management knew it, as indicated by changing the dirty tile.
      *The fire is reported to have started in the duct.
      *The flammable grease residue from any cooking exhaust deposits onto the interior walls of the duct.
      *The duct is metal and not going to combust. The insulation is either 3M blanket or calcium block and neither will combust.

      Ducts cleaned timely do not leak grease. Ducts are code required to be liquid tight, with welded seams. It takes a lot of grease build up and maintenance neglect for enough grease (even to find a tiny pinhole) to leak from a legal duct.

      The restaurant was closed in August for maintenance, equipment, and other conditions. It’s not implausible that the exhaust cleaning was similarly lax.

      Violations recorded in the following area (s), a Notice of Violation issued and establishment ordered closed by the Department of Health at the initial operational cycle inspection conducted on 08/18/2017.
      “Critical” violations are displayed in red.
      Violation points: 61
      Sanitary Violations
      1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
      2) Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours.
      3) Insufficient or no refrigerated or hot holding equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at required temperatures.
      4) Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared.
      5) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
      6) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained and/or not properly sealed, raised, spaced or movable to allow accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above and underneath the unit.

      Ann, the restaurant owner Ahn Nguyen was reported by the Trib to have no comment. She or her partner should have all the records of cleaning, paid invoices from the licensed kitchen exhaust duct cleaner for cleaning the vertical stack and the horizontal ducts at the hood, as well as the hood, monthly filter cleaning or replacements, canceled payment checks, etc. The kitchen hood is required to have a sticker on it showing when the next cleaning was due.

  3. Most decent professional restaurants have a contract to have their grease traps cleaned every 3 months. The process takes less than 30 minutes and is vacuumed out.

    • I thought grease traps were in the drains, not vent ducts. But I could be wrong.

    • Grease traps are mechanical interceptors that prevent grease from clogging sewer drain pipes and city sewer mains.

      They have nothing to do with the kitchen exhaust duct systems for venting grease laden vapor from gas cooking, except that in both cases the grease is a by product of the production and consumption of restaurant food and that good practice requires timely periodic maintenance.