When my dear colleague Steven Thomson and I were heading back from lunch at the new downtown Ziggy's Grill, we walked straight past the entrance of the JPMorgan Chase Bank building recently damaged in a four-alarm fire.
Being that we weren't sure how the repairs were going and we wanted an excuse to be alone a little while longer (shhh) we decided to go in and check things out. I had called the bank building about a week prior, and was inexplicably instructed to contact the main office IN NEW YORK about the state of repairs in the historic building. When I suggested that since the woman I spoke to was in the lobby, she might have some knowledge of what was going on upstairs, she hung up.
Understandably I think, we bypassed the front desk (the entire ground floor was business-as-usual) and headed to the elevators.
"I think it was floor 27," I told Stevie, and we decided we'd go as close as we could and ask around. Amazingly enough, the elevator dropped us right off at the damaged floor.
The doors slowly separated and there was no doubt that we were in the right place. Charred walls, a fire-fighter-busted exterior window, hanging insulation, stray wires. There were no people in sight, just a few clipboards and one particularly nice camera, so we decided to snoop around a bit. We admittedly ignored the sign warning us of possible Ozone inhalation (fingers crossed!) and moved on to the shattered window.
With no cautionary note and certainly no cautionary tape, we decided to crawl through the window and take a look around outside. We walked the ledge completely around the exterior of the building, admiring the skyscape. We eventually returned to the elevators where things were as deserted seeming as we'd found them, although we thought we might have heard the murmuring of workers somewhere on the floor, and a single utility ladder indicated that someone, somewhere might be doing something productive.
The good news? The Chase building is fine, and we think they're fixing it.
The bad news? I hope no
vagrants other enterprising reporters get the same idea we did. It's uh . . . maybe not the safest.