All that’s missing is a cape and a utility belt.
A self-styled superhero — who keeps her identity as hidden as any good Marvel or DC hero — is going around the neighborhood snapping disposable and cellphone-camera photos of what she believes are construction practices.
Holy vigilante, Batman!
The Skillman Street resident has been e-mailing the photos to Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), who, in turn, says she will pass them on to the Department of Buildings.
But the shooter doesn’t see herself as a superhero, but as a traditional muckraker.
“In the past couple of years, my landscape has completely altered,” explained the Clinton Hill resident, who requested anonymity out of fear that construction companies will retaliate.
“Along Skillman, all these little buildings disappeared and these larger buildings started coming up. I started noticing that there had been a number of collapses, and there aren’t very many safety precautions being taken.”
Hot real-estate markets do tend to invite rushed — and shoddy — construction practices, James said, but “unfortunately, the Department of Buildings just doesn’t have the resources to deal with the magnitude of the problem.”
Among the alleged infractions that Super Shutterbug has witnessed are the use of cranes without protective barricades, signs, or warning flags, while children played only 50 feet away; after-hours construction; and the tossing of heavy materials over a balcony.
The Buildings Department has issued violations at many of the sites that have been photographed. The agency reminded residents that the best way to notify the city of problems is to call 311.
“We may not have an inspector for every one of the 950,000 buildings in this city, but the most expeditious way to get action continues to be a call to 311 or 911,” said Kate Lindquist, a Buildings Department spokeswoman. “Call 311, and we will prioritize response based on the condition’s threat to public safety.”
The greater threat, the shutterbug said, would be to remain silent.
“They may say I’m ‘standing in the way of progress,’” she said. “But public safety is more important.”