News

Report: Wall Collapses At Nearly 200-Year-Old Building In TriBeCa

John Y. Smith House

An archive photo of the John Y. Smith House at Canal and Greenwich streets, where a wall collapsed Wednesday. (Credit: New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A wall collapsed Wednesday afternoon at a nearly 200-year-old building on Canal Street in TriBeCa, according to a published report.

The wall at the building at 502 Canal St. – located at the southwest corner of Canal and Greenwich streets – collapsed around 12:30 p.m., and a metal roll-down gate came crashing to the ground, according to a DNAInfo report.

No one was injured, the report said.

The red brick building has been landmarked since 1998. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission said the building is “part of a rare surviving cluster of early nineteenth-century structures” on the block.

It was constructed in 1818 and 1819, and originally used by John Y. Smith, a manufacturer of hair starch and hair powder who ran his business on the ground floor and lives with his family upstairs, the city said.

The city painted an elegant picture of the building 15 years ago, saying it “retains distinctive characteristics of the Federal style, including Flemish bond brickwork, brownstone window lintels and sills, and the curved bay which links the facades of two sections at the corner.”

But in recent years, the old John Y. Smith House has hardly exuded elegance. The building has been vacant for several years, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission found in 2010 that the building was in such poor condition that the façade might collapse, DNAInfo reported.

Despite promises by building owner Ponte Equities to make repairs, the firm was cited last year for failing to maintain the “detective brickwork” in the building, the publication reported.

The publication said the building has been surrounded by scaffolding for 12 years, and neighbors would like to see it demolished.

It was not learned Wednesday night what will happen to the building following the collapse.

Do you think it’s time for the building to come down? Leave your comments below…