Friday Night was a night many people around here will bot forget for a long time. What it will be most memorable about this is that it could have been so much worse. We were very lucky. And last night as we went to bed, there was legitimate reason to worry about the future of our good friends at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Click here to view their Facebook Page -- show them some love -- go there and "like" their page! Let them know you care.
Here is the view on the day after. They began letting cars go down Jamaica Avenue this morning. They had let the trains go past last night but at greatly reduced speeds. Early Saturday afternoon, with the site secured, trains were allowed to pass by at normal speed. Look at the portion of the wall below the collapse -- looks like there was some words painted there long ago. It's not very visible to the naked eye -- but looking at the picture we can see the word "SONS" at the far-right -- and below that on the far-right on line 2 you can see "DELIVERY." We have heard that this location was a bakery, it was also a paper mill and a car dealership (one that had an elevator that carried cars to the 2nd Floor).
A closer look at the area of collapse on 79th Street. The wall on the other side of the building also collapsed, the brick there spilling onto - and through - the roof of the Ambulance Corps (home to our Senior Center).
If you look at the other side of the collapse, you will see that the majority of those bricks fell inward -- however, enough of them fell on to the Ambulance Corps to do significant damage. The kitchen, where all the food for the seniors is prepared, is pretty much shot. Had this collapse happened an hour or so earlier we could be talking about a completely different story today. Again, we were lucky. This picture below was provided by the FDNY.
The vacate order on 78-19 Jamaica Avenue. The Senior Center will be closed until further notice. No one is allowed inside until the situation at 78-19 is resolved. And even then, the total extent of the damage needs to be evaluated. The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association was scheduled to have their Town Hall meeting there on Saturday, April 20th -- it has been relocated to Emanuel United Church of Christ, 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. 1 PM to 3 PM in the lower level (enter through 91st Avenue).
A look at this property on the DOB Website shows 40 Open Violations -- some of them dating back many years. Again, just as we were left with so many unanswered questions with the "stink house" on 85th Street (click here for more info), we are again left with questions that need to be answered.
Here is an open violation from December 2012 where it is noted that the ceiling and wall are cracked and could fall. It was known that this could happen for months. Again, questions need to be asked and answered.
Imagine someone caught beneath that crushing pile of bricks -- this could have been horrible.
The top of 78-19 Jamaica Avenue -- looks like it was erected in 1904. Never noticed that before.
Here is the front doors to the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps -- the FDNY needed to break in to see if anyone was trapped. The damage to the Corps was done in the back, not near the front. But the DOB will need to further inspect to see if there is structural damage.
The WRHVAC has a long history in Woodhaven -- and they have done great work in our community --
The Woodhaven community has always supported the Corps -- and if they need to do so again, we re very sure they will be there.
A few years back, the Corps was in trouble -- NY1 profiled the difficulties and plugged the fundraiser that was held --
And the community responded. Click here for highlights of a great fundraiser, one that shows that the residents of Woodhaven have a tremendous about of heart. This was nearly 4 years ago -- we may need to come to their aid again -- stay tuned.
Here is the news about the Corps moving into its current location from late 1973 and early 1974.
And finally, a brief look at the WRHVAC today -- and some recent great work that they did -- loading the ambulance with food and clothing and supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Look at the sidewalks -- they are empty -- the WRHVAC was there alongside the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association in the immediate after math of Sandy.
It was a group effort -- and a good reminder that people like the members of the WRHVAC, who volunteer their time year-round, are great role models for the young people in our community. Please make sure you take a few moments to point them out to the young people in your circle -- and maybe help them volunteer, if they are so inclined. It is a worthy organization that has been a part of Woodhaven for almost half a century and we are praying that they will be around for 50 more years and beyond.
If you have any comments, or would like to suggest other projects, drop us a line at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photos by Joey Wendell