As this month got underway, we brought you the unfortunate news regarding the landmark Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava at 15 West 25th Street, designed by Richard Upjohn, the architect of the Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan. The 1855 building, which was the city’s only house of prayer servicing the Serbian Orthodox community, was reduced to a charred stone shell on the evening of May 1, just hours after the Orthodox Easter celebration. While the church is collecting donations for reconstruction, the authorities are investigating the fenced-off site for the cause of the conflagration, while engineers keep an eye on the ruined building’s stability. The building is a New York City landmark and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Although the city’s laws protect the building from further demolition, the stone shell may be torn down if ultimately deemed dangerously unstable. Fortunately, the walls appear to be structurally sound for the time being, though serious reinforcement work would be permitted only after the investigations are complete.
The ongoing transformation of Long Island City is astounding. In the decade between 2006 and 2015, more than 8,600 housing units have been completed in the area, with well over 22,000 more on the way. Between 2012 and 2015, prices for prime development sites have jumped by 269 percent. As the neighborhood rapidly transitions from commercial/industrial to high-density residential, the local street grid, characterized by odd angles, must undergo a significant transformation. The city government began to address this need in 2010, when Jackson Avenue, the area’s principal thoroughfare, was upgraded with a green median, while a small triangular park was created at the intersection of 27th Street, Hunter Street, and 43rd Avenue.
The MTA held the first of two major public meetings on the looming L train shutdown at the Marcy Avenue Armory in South Williamsburg last night. Top MTA brass presented the details for the two possible L trainocalypse options—a partial three year shutdown or a full eighteen month shutdown.
The May 1 celebration of Eastern Orthodox Easter was marred by the tragic fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava at 15 West 25th Street, which reduced the landmark building to a charred stone shell. Aside from minor smoke inhalation by the church caretaker, no one was injured in the four-alarm blaze. The same cannot be said for the church building itself, which was reduced to a charred ruin.
In general, new construction reflects local real estate demand and community needs. But given New York’s position as a global economic hub, it is not surprising that one of the city’s largest engineering efforts is a direct response to a megaproject 2,200 miles away. The suspended roadbed of the 84-year-old Bayonne Bridge, which spans the Kill Van Kull strait between Staten Island and Bayonne, N.J., is too low for passage of the latest, giant container ships built to traverse the expanded Panama Canal locks. If the Port of New York and New Jersey fails to accommodate such vessels, the nation’s largest metro area would suffer considerable economic damage. To keep up with the canal’s expansion, slated to open later this year, the Port Authority is raising the bridge roadbed from 151 to 215 feet above the mean water level. The Navigational Clearance Project is expected to cost $1.3 billion.