200 Pounds Of Dynamite Was Used To Bring Down The Building

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The Cunningham Apartments building on Governors Island is no more.

At exactly 7:36 a.m., the 11-story brick apartment building that formerly housed Coast Guard families was brought down with 200 pounds of dynamite.

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The entire implosion took just 10 seconds.

As WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported, unsuspecting commuters and folks with cameras aboard the Staten Island Ferry got an up-close look at the implosion.

The implosion of the building caused a plume of thick white smoke and debris, which was visible across New York Harbor in three boroughs and in New Jersey. But the sound of the blast was not heard elsewhere in the city.

The building was the largest non-historic building on the island, Kosola reported.

The Trust for Governors Island imploded the 1968 building. It was brought down for the first implosion New York City has seen in more than a decade to make way for a new 30-acre park.

Governors Island implosion as seen from the Staten Island Ferry. (credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

Governors Island implosion as seen from the Staten Island Ferry. (credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

The implosion was supervised by the FDNY and the Buildings Department. This was the first implosion in the city in a decade.

According to the trust, the building has been vacant since 1996 and does not meet current building codes.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, hundreds packed in for a rare glimpse as the building came down.

“I’ve never seen anything this size blown up before,” said Adam Novak.

Janet Upadhye brought her mother visiting from California.

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“I thought that it would be a great way to see New York,” said Upadhye, of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

For the implosion, the 11-story, 115-foot building was stripped down to the studs and rigged with 250 pounds of dynamite stuffed in some 900 holes.

When the implosion went ahead before the waiting crowd, it reduced many tons of concrete to thick clouds of dust and debris in just 20 seconds.

“It was amazing,” Upadhye said. “Just watching it fall, it almost looked surreal.”

Once all of the dust finally settles, all of the debris will be combed through and then repurposed in a way to make sure that it will always be part of the park.

“As soon as this rubble comes down and is safe to sort, it will be sculpted into new topography and a beautiful new sports field,” said Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island.

The mounds of concrete will be recycled as fill, and used underneath the park.

Burrell reported the $75 million park project is slated to wrap up by the end of the year.

Governors Island opened to the public as usual at 10 a.m.

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