Thanks for freaking me out, department of preservation and demolition

I get home today, hungry as all get out, on the phone with the architect, who catches me keys in hand. He is going over the final details of the drawings with me before he finishes it up and lays out the rest of the process. Get the asbestos report. Sign the paperwork. Get it notarized. Check check check.

He thinks (optimistically) that it will take 2-3 weeks after we submit to hear back from the DOB in Brooklyn. We say good night and I start heating up leftovers.

I rifle through the mail as the food is sizzling on the stove. A watched pot and all that.

Oh, one of my roommates says. You got an important letter and I put it over there – he points to the table – so you would see it.

It’s a letter from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.


Certified mail…

The letter is taped down with very strong strips of paper…


I rip apart the envelope and the words “Demolition Unit” are the only words I care about.

Um, what?

What do you mean the demolition unit is coming to my house?

What do you mean a contractor is coming to “correct the condition” and “rectify the emergency” and I “will be billed and if not paid, will result in a tax lien”?


At this point I’m pretty much hyperventilating.

I turn to the next page and it’s full of words that look like they were typed on a typewriter from the 1970’s and xeroxed until it got that vintage look.

I read through it once, I think, but it’s all legalese gibberish and I still can’t see straight anyway. All I can think is holy crap, they are going to demolish my house 20 days from September 6th.

I walk the length of my house and back.

And then again.

I go back and read the notice again.

My roommate is sitting on the couch and has been watching me freak out for the last 10 minutes as I scan the letter and email it to my expediter and ask for HELP!

I read the notice again after I have scanned it.

Oh, wait, all they want to do is fix the chimney and make sure the house is locked up?

I shove the letter in my rooommate’s face. Can you please read this??

He pores over it for a spell as I reread the electronic version I just scanned and sent over in a panic.

I think they just want me to fix the chimney.

I think they’re saying if I don’t fix the chimney, they’re going to do it for me.


Okay, I’m freaking out a little less.

Okay, I think it’s going to be okay.

Whew. What a way to start a Monday night.


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