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March 20, 2018

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, Commissioner
42-09 28th St.
Long Island City, NY 11101

Marco Carrion, Commissioner

Community Affairs Unit
Office of the Mayor of New York City
253 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10007

New York City Department of Buildings

Rick D. Chandler, Commissioner
280 Broadway
New York, NY 10007

New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Vincent Sapienza, Commissioner
59-17 Junction Boulevard, 13th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner

New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038

New York State Department of Health

Dr. Howard A. Zucker, Commissioner
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237

Joseph Betesh
Owner and Landlord of Bowery 8385 LLC

Dear Commissioners Bassett, Carrion, Chandler, Sapienza, Torres-Springer, and Zucker and Mr.

We write regarding the discovery of asbestos at 85 Bowery. As you may know, 85 Bowery
tenants were vacated in January due to unsafe conditions in the building. To our knowledge,
asbestos was uncovered during construction of the stairs and must be abated in order to
continue critical structural repairs. In other words, during the abatement process, no other
construction work will be performed.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and our primary concern is for the health and safety of these
tenants. As you know, breathing high concentrations of asbestos fibers can lead to a number of
serious health problems. While exposure does not usually occur until asbestos-containing
material is disturbed, for instance, during construction, we wish to do everything in our power
to ensure the health and safety of the 85 Bowery tenants. Therefore, we urge that you engage
directly with occupants and explain to them, in a language they understand, the discovery of
asbestos in their homes and its potential effects. In addition, we request that the NYC
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the NYS Department of Health check on tenants’
health, with special attention given to children and seniors.

It is also our understanding that, before abatement can begin, the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) must inspect and provide an assessment of the asbestos. We have heard that it
could take up to two weeks for DEP to inspect the building. As a result, repairs could be
seriously delayed. In the past, we have emphasized how important it is for tenants to return to
safe homes as soon as possible. This remains one of our top priorities, and in that vein, we urge
DEP to inspect the building as soon as possible to prevent any further construction delays.
Following the inspection, we ask for DEP to provide our offices and tenants with a detailed
assessment of the situation.

Finally, as abatement begins, we request that Mr. Betesh produce a step-by-step plan for the
process and an updated timeline that factors in the abatement schedule. This updated timeline
should include a date for when residents will be able to return home. To continue discussing this
matter, you may reach us via Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou at (212) 312-1420 or


Yuh-Line Niou

Nydia Velazquez Scott Stringer

Congressmember New York City Comptroller