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Fire Displaces Residents at 143 Essex

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A fire broke out tonight at 143 Essex Street, a 5 story building located between Rivington and Stanton. Firefighters, paramedics and police responded in force. Multiple firetrucks stretched from Houston, past Stanton, spilling on to the side streets. About a dozen residents of the building stood watching the scene from across the street. Emergency crews were handing out blankets and food. One of the residents said she was in the building when the fire broke out. She said it didn’t appear anyone was injured. 143 Essex was built in 1920. It has 18 apartments, as well as ground floor retail space (including Essex Dental and the Wing-on Trading Company).

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  1. 143 Essex Street dates from around the late 1880’s or 1890’s.

    The dates on the city records are systematically incorrect for buildings prior to around 1900. Probably the city doesn’t have easy access to accurate information on earlier construction dates and have chosen to estimate based on some later work filing, inspection or, most likely, a census form. For most buildings that are older than 1900, except famous or significant buildings, the city indicates as either 1900 or 1910 or sometimes even 1920 — which implies either a round guess by decade or a census form. In any case, they are mostly wrong. Going by the city information, almost the entire LES would have been built in 1900, which is patently false. Most LES tenements were built from the 1840’s to 1905 or so.

  2. Thanks Rob,

    Makes sense- 1920 seems to be a very popular year in the DOB computer system.

    Incidentally City Councilmember Margaret Chin told us today the residents have been temporarily relocated to a building on the West Side.

  3. I was puzzled by the fire. Although I didn’t see the location until around 9:30pm, about eight or so fire engines — a lot for a fire — were still there and traffic was still closed, yet I didn’t sensed any smoke whatsoever. Usually a large fire will smoke for hours and the scent of burning will last longer. There didn’t seem any damage, although it may have been all in the back. I’m glad there were no injuries, and encouraged that Margaret is on top of the situation with relocation. Good too if there was no damage, but still puzzling.

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