Subway overhaul not jiving with landmark "Peace Pentagon" building
The Peace Pentagon isn't making the MTA feel very groovy.
The home of one of the country's oldest anti-war groups is sinking into the earth - exactly where NYC Transit is overhauling the Bleecker Street station. Scaffolding propping up the landmark has forced the MTA to delay part of the $133 million project by two years. Work should have started in the area already, but now it wont get going until January 2011.
The construction has caused major headaches for stores located along Lafayette Street, and business owners are desperate for the work to end.
I have customers who call and ask if we are still open, said Jack Wu, owner of the Adore Floral store, located next to the digging. They are trying to modernize the system, but it's killing me.Last year, the MTA started ripping up Lafayette to build a long-awaited transfer between the uptown No. 6 and the B, D, F and V lines.
But contractors couldnt proceed with work at the northeast corner of Bleecker and Lafayette streets because the scaffolding put up in 2007 outside the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute is right where they need to dig. The institute, a foundation sponsoring liberal causes, owns the three-story brick building.
Getting past the impasse could be difficult, as supporters will have to scrape together hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the building before removing the scaffolding. If they chose to sell the property, which the city valued this year at $1.5 million, the work could be delayed even longer as the structure changes hands.
Its really stressful and scary, said Frida Berrigan, a peace activist trying to save the building.
The MTA is working with the owners of the Peace Pentagon and trying to figure out how to modify the scaffolding to get the work done sooner, Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.
We are looking at options, Seaton said.
The Peace Pentagon
- Has provided low-cost rent to grassroots groups and the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute for 40 years decades
- One of the country's largest demonstrations, the 1982 anti-nuclear demonstration in Central Park, was organized there
- A.J. Muste was an anti-war activist and pastor who mentored Martin Luther King Jr.
Jeanne strole, co-director of A.J. Muste Memorial Institute outside of building located at 339 Lafayette (and Bleeker) which has been landmarked and was the headquarters of the activist collective "The Peace Pentagon". (Photo by Willie Davis)