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Tenants, Management Worry Cracks In Queens Building Could Lead To Collapse

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tenants in Rego Park, Queens were living in fear Wednesday that part of their apartment could collapse.

As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, massive cracks appeared in the walls in the building at 94-01 64th Rd. in Queens. And they said they know who is to blame.

“You have to understand – the whole wall is moving,” said Mike Santoro of Samson Management LLC. “It’s not just one area. It’s the entire wall.”

It was an unsettling sight in the basement of the building, with the huge cracks in the foundation.

“This wall is about a foot three inches deep, and you can actually see daylight right through it,” Santoro said.

Santoro said the company excavating the site next door, Booth Holdings LLC of Fresh Meadows, Queens, is to blame. He said the company cut corners, and now the entire wing of the apartment building is unlivable.

“Every morning about 6 or 7 in the morning, you’d hear pounding, and it would shake our building the whole time,” said resident Martin Lee.

Lee had lived in the building for nearly 20 years, but now he does not. He was evacuated because the walls of his apartment were cracking and the floor was falling away.

Cracks are also visible on the outside of the building. One of them runs from the foundation all the way to the roof.

“The city has to get someone in here to stabilize this building,” said David Kershner, president and chief executive officer of Samson Management LLC.

Kershner said it has been six weeks since 19 of his tenants were evacuated.

“My biggest fear is that the wall behind me, facing the construction next door, is going to essentially collapse,” he said.

The foundation all the way up to sixth story the window frames and floors have been shored up, but only on the inside.

“The interior shoring is great, but nothing on the exterior and the exterior is needed immediately,” Santoro said.

The city Department of Buildings said the 64th Road building – cracks and all – is considered stable. The department said crack monitors set up in the building have not shown movement in two weeks.

But that news offered no consolation for Lee.

“We still have no idea,” he said. “We’re still in the dark.”

Lee does not know when the cracks will be sealed, and when his apartment will be deemed fit to live in again.

The Department of Buildings also said an exterior shoring plan has been approved by all parties, and they are just waiting on materials and equipment to be delivered.

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