Amtrak halted its services north from New York’s Penn Station on Sunday afternoon after the closure of a parking garage on W51st Street just west of 10th Avenue above the tracks in Hell’s Kitchen.
The parking garage run by Icon, beneath the 38-story Hudsonview Terrace apartment building at 747 10th Avenue, was closed by city officials on Friday after holes were discovered in the ramps. DOB records show that the building has received over 400 complaints and 91 violations.
Mayor Eric Adams said this evening: “Due to structural issues at a privately owned parking garage that is located directly above a couple Amtrak lines, service between Albany and NYC is currently suspended.” [9:55pm AMTRAK Update — Trains are now suspended between New York and Croton-Harmon].
New York City’s Mayor said that as soon as the Department of Buildings (DOB) became aware of the issue, “engineers quickly began assessing the situation, working with Amtrak teams and other city agencies to ensure the safety of passengers and pedestrians. Emergency work orders were quickly issued so the parking garage owners could begin addressing the issue.”
On Friday, Hell’s Kitchen residents were stopped from retrieving their vehicles — or parking them at the W51st Street garage. On Saturday, a worker at the garage told W42ST that they hoped to open again to the public on Monday. Icon management said in a statement: “Please note that until the Department of Buildings has approved the reopening of the facility, you will not be able to access your vehicle. However, if you need to retrieve anything from your vehicle, our garage team members will be available to assist you.”
However, Amtrak engineers and DOB inspectors were back at the garage again today. A partial vacate order was posted, dated Friday. The city found out about these issues on Friday after FDNY requested DOB make a “structural stability inspection due to compromised ramps in the garage.” The DOB served a partial vacate order on the entire garage “due to defective concrete throughout at the time of inspection.”
However, today, when Amtraks crews were putting up overhead protection over the tracks, they called DOB back to the scene after they found cracks and deterioration of steel beams.
The Empire Line, which connects with Albany and other destinations further north such as Montreal, runs just west of 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen from around 42nd Street up to 52nd Street, passing underneath Hudsonview Terrace.
Amtrak said [UPDATE 9:55pm]: “Due to safety concerns stemming from structure issues of a non-Amtrak, privately owned building above the Empire Line tracks in New York City, Amtrak service is suspended between Croton-Harmon and New York City. Passengers can travel on Metro North trains from Grand Central Terminal between NYP and CRT, where tickets will be cross-honored.” You can keep updated via Amtrak’s website and X feed.
In April this year, a parking garage building partially collapsed in the Financial District, resulting in one death, five injuries and the evacuation of neighboring buildings. After the collapse, DOB conducted inspections of parking structures across the city. In late April, four additional garages in Manhattan and Brooklyn were closed for “posing an immediate threat to public safety”. It’s not clear if the garage at 524 W51st Street has been inspected this year.
Manhattan Community Board 4 Chair Jeffrey LeFrancois said this evening: “Regular inspections are critical to keeping all buildings, especially those over the rail cut, safe for all. This discovery is another unfortunate instance that shows our infrastructure is seriously aging and the system of inspect and repair is broken. Thankfully, no one was hurt and hopefully Empire Service can be swiftly restored.”
Councilmember Erik Bottcher told us this evening: “This is clearly alarming and I’m hopeful that the emergency work orders issued by the Department of Buildings are carried out immediately so that people are kept safe and service can resume. My office will continue to monitor the situation and offer any assistance to the agencies as needed.”
Senator Brad Hoylman, who is a regular commuter on Amtrak to Albany, told us: “The Empire Line is an important one for state government. I know — I take it every week to Albany during the legislative session. I’m alarmed how close this situation came to disaster and am grateful to the engineer who alerted the authorities. This is a prime example of New York’s aging infrastructure and the dangers it poses to the public.”