In 2004, a NewsChannel 4 helicopter corkscrewed and slammed onto the roof of a Brooklyn apartment building, shattering into pieces. In July 2006, Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew up his Upper East Side townhouse that he was about to lose in a divorce settlement. That explosion leveled the four-story building. In October 2006, New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor were flying a small plane that crashed into The Belaire, a 40-story apartment building with 183 apartments.
Earlier this year, a nasty odor blanketed New York City and a few months ago, a steam pipe exploded under apartment and office buildings that created a gaping crater in the middle of Lexington Avenue, exiling hundreds of neighborhood residents to hotels until the situation could be contained.
Steam pipe explosions, plane crashes, cars crashing into buildings, shootings, gas leaks, toxic smells—oh my! While it might sound like a scene from Bruce Willis' action-packed thriller Die Hard, these events have really happened, and any building serious about the safety and security of its residents has an action plan that will go into effect for the more typical types of emergencies—for example, fire, flood and even in today's environment, terrorism.
But what about those unusual dramas that arise (hopefully) just once in a lifetime? Can managing agents actually prepare for something that is seemingly impossible to plan for?
Yes, says Adrian Zuckerman, who heads the Real Estate practice section of the law firm of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. in New York.