Strolling up the High Line won’t be the same this spring — and pedestrians can thank a big, scary chunk of paneling that recently fell off the Standard Hotel.
A key stretch of the lavishly landscaped, tourist-friendly walkway that runs through Manhattan’s Meatpacking District near the Hudson River has been quietly shuttered for a month now — and when it reopens next week it will look like a construction zone, The Post has learned.
That’s because The Standard hotel is belatedly putting up a 450-foot stretch of scaffolding over the High Line to protect pedestrians from falling debris after an 8-foot hunk of cement-and-fiberglass paneling fell off the swanky hotel’s façade on Jan. 2.
It’s not clear when the shed will come down, but insiders aren’t holding their breath.
That’s partly because the Standard Hotel appears to have been dragging its feet ever since its award-winning tower — built in 2009 by hotelier André Balazs and designed by Ennead Architects — shed the sheet of paneling.
Indeed, it wasn’t until four days after the panel dropped onto a neighboring roof that the city learned of the problem — not from the hotel, but from a call to 311 from a concerned tipster, city records show.
Department of Buildings inspectors rushed to the scene to find a gaping hole in the 18-story luxury hotel, which straddles the High Line — a hot spot for hard-partying tourists prior to the pandemic. DOB slapped the hotel with a $2,500 violation on Feb. 10 and ordered it to hire engineers to conduct a stability assessment of the façade. The hotel has complied.
Experts say the deterioration of the hotel — owned by Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital — is surprising, especially for a high-profile building constructed just 12 years ago.
“Nothing should be falling off a building,” said C. Jaye Berger, an attorney who specializes in construction issues. “I thought people learned their lesson after the architect was killed,” she added, referring to Erica Tishman, who died in 2019 when she struck by falling debris from a Seventh Avenue tower.
Likewise, The Standard should have moved more quickly to put up the sidewalk sheds after the fallen panel was discovered, said Stephen Varone, architect and president of RAND Engineering & Architecture.
“Normally, you can put the shed up first and get the permits afterwards,” Varone said. “The important point here is that public safety overrules the usual paperwork protocols.”
Nevertheless, on Feb. 20, six weeks after the panel fell, the hotel was fined another $10,000 for its failure to “implement any pedestrian-protection measures to protect the public” from the deteriorating façade, records show.
The Standard on Monday finally filed paperwork to erect scaffolding.
As a result, the southernmost section of the High Line between Gansevoort Street and West 14th Street, which has been closed off since Feb. 13, is slated to reopen Sunday, according to a source briefed on the situation.
Nevertheless, when it reopens, a maze of scaffolding will darken a crucial leg of the High Line that runs by the Standard Hotel’s tower at 484 Washington St., which typically offers views not only of the river but the Whitney Museum.
In addition to affecting the High Line, the crumbling facade has become a nuisance to Novac Noury, the longtime owner of a vacant plot of land on Little West 12th Street that’s located just south of the hotel’s danger zone.
He claims he wasn’t informed of the hazard until Feb. 27, when he got a letter from the hotel advising him to stay away from his own land. According to Noury, that means he cannot enter his parcel as it’s only 25 feet wide and bordered on two sides by the Standard.
Noury — an artist and musician who once played his arrow-shaped keyboard at the legendary Studio 54 nightclub — says he continues to use his land because it’s where he makes his living creating rainbow displays for tourists using nothing but natural sunlight and a water hose.
Nevertheless, he’s afraid he could get injured and that the construction mess will hurt his business.
“I’m fearful of anyone walking in the area, and I know that when there is another strong vortex wind, the remaining piece of the panel will fall off,” Noury said of the gusts that whip through the area from the nearby Hudson. “I want the scaffold, and I want to protect my life, and I want to be able to walk around and show my property and make rainbows.”
A woman who answered a call to The Standard said she wasn’t able to discuss the damaged facade and said she would forward The Post’s requests for comment to management. Calls to owner Gaw Capital’s Los Angeles offices also weren’t answered.
It’s not the first time The Standard has gotten dinged for falling construction debris. It received a violation in June 2010 when one of its floor-to-ceiling windows — which famously have been used by exhibitionist guests to stage impromptu peep shows — “fell to the public below” from the 17th floor, according to public records. The hotel paid a $1,000 fine.
After Tishman’s 2019 death from falling building debris, The Post found that 5,300 buildings had been cited for faulty facades that were never fixed, with many having never erected protective sheds.
The Department of Buildings quickly issued 220 violations to other properties and later hired nearly a dozen more inspectors.