Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Playing with Back Hoes: South Slope Edition

June 25th, 2008 · 3 Comments

There is something about the absurdity of the situation described in the following email circulating via the Yahoo South Slope Group that caught our attention. It’s not a major thing, just an example of the hijinx that can ensue with construction equipment, particularly when no agency really wants to deal with the issue:

Here we go again. The wild west is open for business. 7AM this morning a tractor trailer, with a huge back hoe, rolls up on 16th Street in front of 163 16th street (The back of 182 15th street). Stops in the middle of the street an sits idling for 15 minutes. School buses and cars are backed up down to 4th. At about 7:15 the driver decides to drop off the Back Hoe. He gets out and proceeds to disconnect the trailer from the rig. He moves the Rig up the block and comes back to drive the Back Hoe off of the trailer. In the process he almost destroys 3 cars and run over 3 children walking to school. He leaves the Back hoe in front of the construction site. Half on the side walk and half in the street. Then reattaches the rig to the trailer and leaves. Please note that all of the above is against the law. I call 311 and speak to Ciprianna. After explaining the situation along with the fact that now children are climbing on the machine, she connects with 911.

Another woman (no name given) refuses to take the call saying that “it’s not a 911 issue”. Cipprianna insists and proceeds to read some info from a procedures manual. 911 operator puts us on hold and then comes back. Tells Ciprianna to hang up and then tells me that “assistance is on the way”. She hangs up before I could get a report number or name. Now over one hour later – Numerous calls to the 72nd unanswered, The machine is still in the middle of the street and no one has shown up. Just another example of the disconnect between reality and the true intent of our tax dollars. Although this is a minor incident the facts are telling and indicative of all the abuses that we have been subjected to over the years – Everything that was done by the driver is illegal. The back hoe being left in the street is illegal. Although this particular incident didn’t result in harm to others or damage to property (other than the damaged street which will be repaired by our tax dollars) it is plain to see how it could very easily have been much more harmful or damaging.

Every city agency, from 311 to 911 to the police to the DOT, to the DOB will say that they either don’t have jurisdiction or that it is someone else’s jurisdiction. In the end the developer and all of his minions are allowed to skirt the laws and do damage to our quality of life. The really sad part is that the only time that anyone will do or say something is if or when someone gets killed by these abuses. Then they
(all the Agencies and elected) will jump to the forefront to complain that something needs to be done.

As they always do.

Tags: South Slope

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Red Hook // Jun 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    While technically correct that is a 911 issue, NYPD and FDNY are not going to show up most of the time for such calls.

    I’m not sure myself how best to get immediate attention to such problems. BUT these days the Buildings Department is trying to at least PRETEND to be responsive, so I’d call them directly. Don’t call 311.

  • 2 D // Jun 25, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I have to object to the previous advice. Call 311 and file a complaint. Get it on the record. Then go home get a video camera and document the worksite violations. When the contractor gets hit with a stop work order and gets fined they may eventually decide to obey the law and be good neighbors. Also, it would be a good idea to post the video on Brownstoner.

  • 3 Red Hook // Jun 26, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I don’t disagree that filing a complaint with 311 is a good idea. And a video camera is a great idea.

    But based on the OP’s story, they were directed to 911… after calling 311. And then 911 did nothing, as I mentioned. Also, the OP wanted an immediate response, which they wouldn’t get from 311.