August 2017
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Question: Why did this mountain climber rapel down the side of a 30-story landmark?

55 liberty building conservatorAnswer: Because 55 Liberty Street, just two blocks away from the World Trade Center site, may have sustained damage from the events of September 11. And this man is no ordinary mountain climber – from Vertical Access, LLC and he’s a building conservator and specialist in terra cotta, the material that 55 Liberty is “clad” in. With its peaked mansard roof, the 1906 landmark poses great challenges to conservators who wish to examine its facades for damage. The mountain climbing technique, employed by an innovative conservation firm called Vertical Access LLC, allows specialists to conduct a hands-on inspection and check for cracking and other damage without the costly expense of conventional scaffolding or swing-staging. The findings from the survey will help verify the extent of the damage and create a record that can be used in insurance claims. Along with a consortium of four other preservation organizations, the MAS formed the Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund to make grants to help stabilize, renovate, and restore historic sites in Lower Manhattan damaged on September 11. Historic sites eligible for grants from the Fund include secular and religious structures, open spaces, and works of art. In awarding grants, preference is given to nonprofit applicants and to uninsured or under-insured owners. The Fund has already assisted in the repair of ship sails at the South Street Seaport, as well as the work of Vertical Access at 55 Liberty. Contributions in the form of checks payable to “FCNY/Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund” may be made in care of the MAS. The MAS’s partners in the LMEPF are the World Monuments Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy.