Must be 6AM because the pickup trucks are arriving on the block and I can already hear voices in front of my house.
Workmen for the construction site across the street.
I usually rise around 5AM so the activity does not disturb me.
But, shortly, I intend to go out and make sure my daily newspaper does not get picked up by someone else.
At 6:20AM a large front loader arrives on the back of a fifty foot transporter. Now what?
The last time I bothered to count, I had noted that 12 cement trucks had delivered their loads to the site. I left the city for almost six weeks so I have no idea if any showed up during our absence – but last Thursday a total of seven cement trucks made deliveries.
One has now to wonder just what the heck is being built over there. It is a mystery to the site’s next door neighbor also, wondering what all the noise and earth-jarring thumps portend. (The house on the east side of the site is an Airbnb, so we don’t know what they see or think about the operation.)
He tells me that he is unable to get information from the workers and, despite regulations, there is never anyone in charge of the work there. Also, the required sign outside the site has never been posted thus we are ignorant of the intended structure’s design or size — or even if it is to be a residence.
However, glimpses of the interior, when equipment was moved in or out, reveal where all that cement had gone. From left to right, and front to back, from lot line to lot line, a cement wall rose up out of a cement lined pit which had to be twenty feet deep. Speculation soared.
Back to today and further bafflement as the front loader removed a jumbled mass of cement debris mixed with strands of rebar and dumped it into a 20 yard dirt box at the curb for removal by a large hauler. Another 20 yard dirt box and the front loader were left on the street. Cement in, cement out. Stranger still. I suppose one of us could go to City Hall and try to find out what us planned for that site. But that would mean dealing with cityspeak, the dark annals of the building code and leaving without the information we seek — plus the feeling I always get at City Hall: that I am just a dumb civilian bothering a hard-working civil servant with stupid questions.
I have written several times abut the construction activity on my block. This site in particular has commanded much attention for the number and types of heavy equipment introduced to the job — including a pile driver on treads and for the length of time the site has been active. Whatever is to be there, it should be remembered that it replaces a humble, 1,000 square foot cottage which was erected in 1927 by a handful of workers with saws and hammers in the space of about 10 weeks.
Now, I think we should just set up a few chairs across from the site, sip our gin and tonics – still summer – and see what happens.