The city finally got to work fixing the dangerous cracked slate in front of Borough Hall last week — and all it took was a broken hip and a lawsuit.
Last Friday, the Parks Department had roped off and repaired two small sections of the broken-up bluestone plaza surrounding the government building near Adams Street, less than a month after the announcement of a lawsuit by a Fort Greene woman who tripped on the obstacle course and shattered her hip.
Joan Bassin, 71, and her lawyer had started preparing to sue the department over its longtime negligence — and suddenly cement workers began a month-long repair process.
“Thanks to the unusually mild weather … we’re using dyed concrete to fill in the worst cracks,” said Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey.
It’s the first time that the department has done real work on the plaza since an agency spokeswoman said that a repair would be completed “as soon as possible” in January, days after this paper pointed the problem out.
Bassin’s lawyer, Steven Kaufman, said on Monday that the repairs won’t block a lawsuit — especially considering Bassin’s hospital and lost-work costs after the fall that put her through two hip surgeries and the installation of her “first bionic part.”
“It’s fantastic that they’ve started repairs on the plaza,” Kaufman said. “But it’s a shame that they didn’t get the much-needed work done in a timely manner.”
The Parks Department won’t comment on the lawsuit, but Jeffrey said that the repairs should be completed within a week and that workers will check on the plaza’s status again in spring. Department officials have said that the damage — which remains widespread — is caused by weather and government cars and trucks that often drive on the plaza.