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Ladies’ Mile Landmark Damage

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  • Ladies’ Mile Landmark Damage

    Main Facade Intact at Ladies’ Mile Landmark, but Damage Is Serious

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP



    David W. Dunlap/The New York Times The principal facade of the Hugh O’Neill department store on the Avenue of the Americas, between 20th and 21st Streets, was not damaged in the structural collapse.
    News of a facade collapse on Tuesday at the former O’Neill & Company dry-goods emporium conjured images of significant architectural loss. This gleaming white facade on the Avenue of the Americas, from 20th to 21st Streets, is among the largest single expanses of ornamental cast-iron in the city. Its signature elements — gold-colored beehive domes at each corner turret and Hugh O’Neill’s name boldly inscribed in the pediment — make it especially memorable.


    David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Zigzag cracks, some looking older, others looking new, are visible in the area above the column collapse.
    A visit Friday morning to the 19th-century shopping district once known as Ladies’ Mile brought quick reassurance. The principal facade appeared untouched. But the sense of relief was short-lived.
    Troubling signs were evident in the brick facade on 20th Street. A great chunk was missing from the bottom of one of the westernmost columns. The horizontal beams connected with that column at the first-floor level seemed to incline slightly. Zigzag cracks were evident in the brickwork above. Some cracks had been patched, others looked new. It was as if the whole end of the wall had sagged just a bit.
    During its inspection of the seven-story building on Thursday, the Buildings Department “found that a load-bearing column on the ground floor had collapsed, structurally compromising the building,” said Tony Sclafani, the associate commissioner for communications and public affairs. “As a result, the department issued a full vacate order to the building and a violation to the building owner for failing to maintain the building.”...


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