The Real Deal New York

Owner of a rustic cabin roofscape sues city after fine, demand for new paperwork

Mysterious complainant alleging work without a permit triggered the city's scrutiny
January 13, 2018 03:49PM

(Credit: photo of porch vastateparksstaff/Wikimedia Commons; background, Pexels)

A New York City developer is fielding complaints about a private project he constructed over a decade ago atop his own apartment.

The project is a meadow and porch — yes, that’s right, just a porch that connects through an inner staircase to his loft apartment below — that transforms the roof of the luxury co-op building, 719 Greenwich St., into a picturesque countryside landscape, save the New York skyline surrounding it.

David Puchkoff, the head of DP Associates, which developed 161 Hudson Street among other projects, built the garden and porch in 2003, according to the New York Post, and last year the city received a complaint about Puchkoff doing work without a permit. The Department of Buildings investigated and issued him a fine of $1,200 and directed him to apply for a new certificate of occupancy.

Considering Puchkoff obtained permits more than a decade ago — and hasn’t made any changes since — he’s decided to fight the decision, and whoever complained in the first place, by suing the Department of Buildings.

“It isn’t fair, I’ve already met all the rules and regulations,” he told the New York Daily News. He estimates that even if he wins his case, legal fees will run up a bill of about $30,000, but he’s pressing forward.

“I haven’t done any other work in there except to water my garden, so who am I annoying?” he said in another interview to the Post, adding that he doesn’t know who initiated the complaint, but no one has approached him with concerns. [NYP] — Erin Hudson