When bad things happen to good buildings

May 30, 2007 by
Filed under: Area 51 

Last weekend I spent a significant amount of time working in the kitchen. I elected to do this because:

  1. my husband watching a lot of television, including a number of John Wayne movies which I would just as well not partake of
  2. the kitchen was a filthy mess

Armed with a pitcher of margaritas, my cd player and an assortment of cleaning products, I whiled away the entire evening diligently cleaning the floor and washing dishes. My pristine floor lasted maybe 24 hours. My husband has since tracked corn oil all over it. I’m not too sure how this happened and I do not think I want to know.

During my spring cleaning juggernaut I observed something unusual happening next door. The same neighbors who recently had a smoke detector problem apparently had a new one on their hands. Before I continue, I would like to say that I gave these peeps a serious drubbing over the previous incident. As ridiculous as the whole situation was, I still believe my neighbors to be nice people— they just weren’t thinking at the time. (It is rare for me to meet someone I do not like anyway, but most of them seem to work for Con Ed.)

That said, the purpose of this post is not to bash my ‘nabes. Rather, it is to highlight a problem they seem to have courtesy of their landlord’s crappy construction. As I stated in a previous post about “Beepy”, the landlord next next door raised the roof on the backend of his building. As a result, the roof rises about six inches above the bottom sill of our windows. In order to comply with fire code and account for water runoff, he created trough-like openings around both my and my neighbor’s windows. I realize this is a little difficult to understand, so here is a picture of one of them.

Trough

Located in each of these trenches is a smallish drain, which you can see here, which brings me to what I witnessed last weekend. As I was washing dishes I heard the sound of splashing water hit the roof. I peered out the window and noticed my neighbors stuffing a wet shirt between the top of their air conditioning unit and the window. Although puzzled by this, I went back to work.

Several hours later I heard it again. Dripping water. I looked out the window and saw them stuff another wet rag into this gap, making the air conditioner dip at a 70 degree angle.

Dipping a/c unit

That’s when I realized what my neighbor’s problem was: instead of going down the drain, the runoff from their air conditioner was leaking into their apartment. This is the only reason I can come up with for them doing this. The air conditioner has been positioned so the condensation will flow directly into the dinky drain they have been provided. To their credit, they did an admirable (if ugly) job of solving a ridiculous problem. I may very well end up doing the same thing.

I would love to meet the ‘architect’ who drew up this ‘plan’. I bet it was rendered on a piece of manila paper with crayon— the pretty metallic ones that you don’t get with the standard pack of Crayolas (the bastards!). Instead of being on file at the Department of Buildings, this M.C. Escher-esque masterpiece of poor design is probably taped to his mommy’s refrigerator.

Miss Heather

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