Hole-y moly! Sinkhole swallows Sunset Park intersection

Brooklyn Daily
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They’re gonna need a bigger cement truck.

A massive sinkhole opened on the corner of 64th Street and Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park on Aug. 4.

The yawning, 20-foot chasm unhinged its gaping maw at a little before 7 am, officials said. The sight may have surprised passers-by, but folks who live and work nearby knew it was just a matter of time before the earth would cleave beneath the long-sagging street.

“It’s been sinking for two years,” said 64th Street resident Roseanne Coffey. “I just asked my husband two weeks ago, ‘When do you think it’s gonna go?’ ”

The city doesn’t know what caused the hole, but confirmed there was a leak in a 48-inch water main beneath the street, according to a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which handles the city’s water and sewer infrastructure.

But the problem was definitely on the city’s radar — before the street collapsed, city crews piled asphalt atop a growing depression on the street, another local said.

“You could see they put tar over it,” Felipe V., who works at a laundromat across the avenue. “I guess they never took the time to find out why it was sinking.”

The city recently replaced a fire hydrant on the corner, Coffey said. A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection refused to say when the fire hydrant was last replaced.

A pipe tying the hydrant to the main may have been leaking water underground, Coffey said.

“When they pulled it out, it was all rusty,” she said.

No residential customers lost electricity, according to a spokesman from Con Ed. But the sinkhole did damage three electric gizmos serving the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he said. The outage snarled nearby N trains that morning, according to a release from the authority.

There were no injuries in the cave-in, fire officials said.

The city does not know how long it will take to fix underground infrastructure and cap the crater, a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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