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Smith Street Building Starts to Crumble on Schedule

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There were some problems at 170 Smith Street in Brooklyn this morning, a building that has been slowly crumbling. It's unclear if parts of the building started coming off, but "before" pictures in the photo gallery taken on Tuesday show they appear quite ready to cooperate with gravity and make the building a prime Curbed Building Collapse Betting Pool candidate. (The most recent Brooklyn entrant was this one in Greenpoint.) In any case, the FDNY was on scene this morning, per a Curbed correspondent, and scaffolding had been put back up. A check of Department of Buildings records shows that on Monday someone had called in a complaint that said "caller sts the scaffolding was taken from in front of bldg leaving pedestrians at risk from falling debris." Meanwhile, back in December 2006, one finds the following complaint: "Cllr sts that the building structure is unstable for above address and the facade is cracked and its falling off...pls inspect building." Inspectors did and wrote a violation for "failure to maintain exterior wall." A stiff $800 fine was imposed that records show hasn't been paid. The building, by the way, is over the Bergen Street F & G train station on the Coney Island-bound platform side.
· 170 Smith Street [Department of Buildings]

UPDATE: DOB sent an email about the situation, saying, "Initial reports from the scene indicate the building at 170 Smith Street is in poor condition, but it has not collapsed. The building's façade has suffered from neglect. On Tuesday, the Buildings Department issued an emergency declaration to allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to install a sidewalk shed. The sidewalk shed is in place, and served to catch pieces of the façade that reportedly fell from the building today...Buildings inspectors and engineers remain on scene, and operations continue." Brownstoner has more photos from the scene.