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Borough fall: D’town plaza’s bluestone is tripping hazard, pedestrians allege

The Brooklyn Paper

A stroll through the plaza in front of Borough Hall is no walk in the park — it’s more like a trip through a minefield, Downtown workers allege.

Angry pedestrians say the city must replace the broken bluestone sidewalks in front of Borough Hall with uglier, cheaper asphalt — calling for function over fashion before another person falls and breaks a bone.

“This is deplorable!” said Susan Detrich, who often traverses the pock-marked plaza, which government workers sometimes use for parking. “If you don’t glue your eyes to the ground, you’ll step into a hole. Forget about how it looks — let’s patch it up.”

The broken slate surrounding the People’s House in Columbus Park has been a perilous crossing for years, but neither the Borough President nor the Parks Department has snagged the funds for a full reconstruction for the plaza bounded by Joralemon, Court, Johnson and Adams streets and Cadman Plaza West.

Instead, they’re filling gaping holes with orange traffic cones.

“People are always tripping over here,” said Jason Alfred, who works near Adams Street. “They’re scared for their lives.”

Borough President Markowitz said that he won’t consider another material to replace the bluestone, saying that historic character of Brooklyn’s City Hall must be maintained.

“I wish the city could give my office the budget so we can be responsible for the upkeep,” he said. “But in the meantime, we will strongly urge [the city] to make the necessary repairs.”

Still, no slapdash repair jobs have been enough to protect the two-inch bluestone — which can run up to $15 a square foot — against heavy foot traffic, winter wear, and government vehicles that park on the crumbling walkways.

Two years ago, a 71-year-old woman fell and landed in the hospital for a fractured hip, prompting the city to fill some holes with tinted cement.

Some community officials say that the plaza is beyond temporary repairs — especially since it last underwent a major renovation about 15 years ago.

“If the plaza is going to withstand vehicular use, we need a concrete that is tinted to look like bluestone,” said Rob Perris, district manager of Community Board 2. “That could be a good compromise when you don’t think bluestone is the right answer.”

Detrich said that she’s written to the Borough President since 2010 to pressure him to finally replace the splintered stone.

“A private homeowner would have gotten so many violations for this,” she said. “Yet this is our administration building and our visitor’s center and no one will fix it.”

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Reader Feedback

Becky from Wonderland says:
Yah, Like if I totally tripped on my mother's meds, and fell to the sidewalk on my flat white arse.
Like, it would totally shatter like glass.
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:59 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Brooklyn Paper, are you going to allow offensive, racist b.s. like the post at 10:40 am to stand? Anyone monitoring comments?
Feb. 20, 2012, 11:01 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
The sidewalk might not be in disrepair if Marty Markowitz and Lew Fidler weren't parking on it. It makes it easier to trip, too, when you have to fear for being run over.
Feb. 20, 2012, 11:03 am
BG from DowntownSince1984 says:
The sidewalk on Boerum near Johnson Street is tinted concrete. It can't be that hard to do same down near Joralemon. The situation is a desgrace. Mr. Markowitz should stop passing the buck.
Feb. 20, 2012, 11:21 am
ch from bh says:
Marty doesn't care about that park - except as a parking lot.

Or maybe he's trying to help people buy homes from a sli--and-fall lawsuit like he did!

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/51/32_51_sb_martys_house_main.html
Feb. 20, 2012, 11:31 am
seen it all , from downtown says:
the plaza is used by trucks and all other type of vechiles through out the day and freinds and favorites of the boro presidents office are allowed to park right on the plaza destroying many of the slate stones ..
Feb. 20, 2012, 9:30 pm
Mike says:
It's rich that Markowitz is urging the city to make repairs when it's his own chauffeured SUVs that are responsible for a lot of the damage.
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:40 pm
Robert Perris from Community District 2 says:
For the record, I also stated that a much thicker bluestone, not just concrete, could stand up to vehicular traffic.
Feb. 21, 2012, 10:48 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
BP Marty Markowitz doesn't want concrete outside his glorious Borough Hall, BUT
when it comes to the Iconic Coney Island Boardwalk ,
CONCRETE IS OK !

Brooklyn residents are very happy that you only have another 679 Days left. Former BP Howard Golden had it right when he called you a BUFFOON ! Adios Marty.
Feb. 22, 2012, 9:58 am
mike from GP says:
If Markowitz and Fidler stopped driving on the plaza, maybe it'd last longer.
Feb. 26, 2012, 1:36 am
norman from Parkslope says:
The point is the bluestone needs maintenance, not replacement. It is beautiful and can, if maintained, last for decades and decades! Have we forgotten how to maintain bluestone, fill its joints and replace broken pieces? Why have we (City of NY) become helpless and hapless when it comes to straightforward maintenance and repairs?
March 7, 2012, 9:58 am

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