Within two weeks, a brownstone that stood for more than 150 years will be completely taken apart. Part of the building's back and right walls collapsed on July 2, four floors collapsing into the alley below. The Department of Buildings almost immediately declared the home unsalvageable, and now it is being completely dismantled piece by piece. Demolition is slow to ensure the rest of the building won't come crashing down and damage the buildings surrounding it. Three families with a total of eight children lived in the brownstone, and miraculously, no one was hurt. Equally as amazing, the families have recovered most of their belongings and valuables, including computers, passports, jewelry, and even a cigar box filled with one 15-year-old's life savings.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but a DOB expert believes that a major factor was the empty space next to the wall that fell down. "Nineteenth-century town houses, he explained, were generally built in clusters of three or four homes called sister houses, and the adjoining structures were a central part of what kept them standing," writes the Times. "While the brownstone to the left of 241 Carroll Street still stands, the one to its right was torn down in the mid-1950s to make way for the school, Public School 58. Over time, very slowly, the lonely brownstone without its right-hand neighbor might have become unstable."
· Amid Collapsing Walls, a Bit of Luck for 3 Families [NYT]
· Brownstone Collapses in Carroll Gardens [Curbed]