Nosy Neighbor: Why is the roadway still blocked on Duane Street?

J. wrote: “The construction at 131 Duane has taken up an unusually large portion of the street, narrowing the roadway and making it rather unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. Usually, the only thing within this work zone are two porta-potties. On the weekend occasion when their partition had fallen into the street, we had had to deal with day long closures until they felt like returning. All neighbors are up in arms. Any insight would be appreciated.”

As we all know, Michael Tojner just completed a very beautiful restoration of 131-135 Duane; you can see more pictures here. And I certainly thought it was finished, but it is not. They have open permits with both the Department of Buildings and the Department of Transportation, and the developer replied to my question with this:
“While we have made good progress, the building is not yet complete. It is not true that no work is going on, just less than before. There are still open permits and we will need need a crane to come to the building multiple times in order to finish the penthouse. I asked the construction firm’s manager and got the response below. Hope this explains it.

“This project saved several hundred jobs during Covid and definitely is an asset to the neighborhood, now that it is not falling apart anymore.”

And from the construction manager at Sciame, which is the contractor:
“We are not finished with the penthouse fit-out. We have open construction permits and we employ 30-40 workers daily to finish the work. The owner is entitled to a roadway closure; we pay lots of fees to DOB and DOT. We still have 1 or 2 more knuckle boom [a crane that lifts things up high] picks left to complete. There is no reason to turn over the roadway until mid-January.”

Also, the folks at the Department of Buildings told me they had not received any complaints about the contractors blocking the street in front of the property.

DUANE CONSTRUCTION PART II: A few neighbors have also asked me about the closed-off section of Duane Street on the south side in that same block, in front of 148 Duane. In that case, the owners of have active DOB permits associated with the renovation of the existing five-story building. But they do NOT have Department of Transportation permits to block the street.

From DOB: “On 10/11/22, DOB inspectors conducted a construction safety sweep of the building. During this inspection, our inspector issued a violation to the contractor, FALCON PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION, for erecting barriers on the street without the proper DOT permits.”

You can check for DOT permits here. 



  1. I would like to add 170 Duane Street to the list. They have had large plastic barricades up for many years now, seemingly protecting a portapotty and collecting garbage as there has been no visible activity in the street. I checked your map and there are no DOT permits to block the street noted there. We need more room for DOB cars and placard (ab)users to park!

  2. Is the issue on Duane 170 or 172? It seems that space has been sitting scaffolded with no activity for years now. Was quite the rat haven before the cold weather too

  3. The problem I have here is in the quote – “no reason to turn over the roadway until mid-January.” I get that they’re still doing work and they have all the right permits – but it seems to me this is exactly backwards. You shouldn’t need a reason to keep the road open as many days as possible, you should need a reason, as specific as possible, for every day you want to close it. That may not be the way the law works, but as far as ‘being a good neighbor’ is concerned, that turn of phrase makes it feel like more of an act.

  4. With regard to 172 Duane Street (P you are correct about the address), I submitted a service request through about the plastic barricades that have blocked the street for years. They collect garbage, attract rats, and are an eyesore. There is no construction going on. Curiously, they remove them each year for Taste of Tribeca and then they reappear. It took them three weeks to tell me that it is not in the purview of the Department of Transportation. Case closed. Any advice? Anyone?

  5. 131-135 Duane St still continues to block off a better part of the block between West Broadway and Church St. The area is basically used for “private parking” more often than not. At other times it’s simply vacant. Furthermore, when deliveries take place at the building, they don’t use the blocked off space for their vehicles, but double park making to impossible for larger vehicles to pass through causing traffic delays. Other buildings on the street have necessary work and repairs that must be done, yet are unable to because the space they (131-135) are taking up is so large, it doesn’t allow for contractors elsewhere. I understand they’ve received an award for their restoration of the building, AND tenants have moved in- both signaling construction has been completed. How are they still allowed to block off the street this way. It’s been YEARS!!! Thank you for any insights you may have.