Besides the large water tower that sat above the roof on the West Side highway of years ago there was the drama that went with this 1980′s install. The roof sat above one of the most notorious streets in NYC of past. This was a time of Bernhard Goetz and just briefly after the “Son of Sam” memory was fading away. I was 24 years old at the time and I knew nothing about life and not enough about roofing a big city. The West Side and lower Manhattan before the building of million dollar condos was a seedy and decadent place especially at night. Looking back at this time and the risks I took in business make me wonder if I was just nuts or a good business person.
The building was managed by Time equities Management. Time Equities had a large number of young eager and vibrant cool managers. They really did not know anything about building structures but they were willing to give contracts to anyone that sounded like they knew something. My experience in roofing was only about 6 years, part time as I was busy getting a degree in finance and economics. I will admit that I did read everything about roofing that existed at the time including the technical manual by C.W. Griffin “manual of Built up roofing” . Would you believe that this is still available for sale at Amazon.com ? http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Built-Up-Roof-Systems-Griffin/dp/0070247838. I mean the book was a drag and through the years I found that most of the information was rudimentary. So being the risk taker that I was I began selling jobs as a roofer. I gave talks to educate people on proper roofing techniques. I buddy up with people like Elmer Favaro that was importing materials directly from Italy under the name of Dibiten roof systems. That was the system that we installed at 99 West St. It was a roof about 6000 square feet and it was cut up to the max. I think the roof doubled as a smoking place during a day to a god knows what at night. We needed to carry the rolls up the stairs and I believe there were 12 stories. The facade of the roof was a giant copper mansard. It was really an odd yet beautiful building.
I do not know what it was about this time of past. It certainly was not the best of times. I think New York City was a slice of Hell. I don’t know how it changed. I do know though that it seems everything from that period was out of control in NYC. On this roof we even found a briefcase with a gun in it. One of the guys from Brooklyn Steve Mal___s a 300 pound very large guy grabbed it and claimed ownership because he saw it first. It was crazy time for sure. I had first hired a contractor from New Jersey “John Asch Contracting” to do the work. He was truly a salesman but I am sorry just not a good roofer at the time. He id not fully adhere the Dibiten, he went over water…Ugggh. He had his men come up and they worked so fast and so wrong. The roof in my opinion was not good enough so I did it over. It was one of my first jobs but something in side of me was just not satisfied. I just took it so personal. Oh so many memories , I am glad New York City has become more sane.