New York blood centre: ‘A tourist attraction’ or ‘graveyard’?

Image copyright Moncrief Offices Image caption A fire broke out in Moncrief Offices on July 9, 2003 The New York Blood Center building in Manhattan is no stranger to media scrutiny, writes John Hardman….

New York blood centre: 'A tourist attraction' or 'graveyard'?

Image copyright Moncrief Offices Image caption A fire broke out in Moncrief Offices on July 9, 2003

The New York Blood Center building in Manhattan is no stranger to media scrutiny, writes John Hardman.

Although originally built in 1911, the 75-storey glass skyscraper was targeted by a fire in 2003, but there were no injuries, and the “problem building” incident was carried out by as managers attempted to enter it.

In 1996, site superintendent James Moncrief settled a wrongful death claim brought by the family of Bernard Romero, a man whom Mr Moncrief, Mr Moncrief’s family and the blood center accused of spreading a fire in a stairwell – which went undetected – that led to Mr Romero’s death.

The blood center argues the new complaint is an attempt to “badger” its staff.

Image copyright Newsday Image caption The high rise building is currently a permanent tribute to the memory of late New York governor, Mario Cuomo

But those who want to save the building see a different story.

They believe that the blood center is trying to put a building to use as a “graveyard”.

This date, July 9, will mark the 16th anniversary of the fire that left one staff member dead and more than 100 injured.

That was a day that television crews from all over the world have returned to this three-floor office building – the physical symbol of modern day destruction – to report on the inner workings of the blood centre.

They report it as a prison, a funeral home, a memorial or a tourist attraction – much the same way that people once travelled to places of remembrance in places of war to pay their respects and remember those lost.

Now, the blood center has filed a “notice of claim” in court. It wants a judge to decide that it should no longer be allowed to move forward with plans to demolish the building and build a shiny new office in its place.

Tribal battle

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