Dec 27

Roof Goes Boom! 12-27-2010

Monday 12-27-10 7:34 pm / From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal
Hi. I am ok……

Pix: Slightly longer article:

My folder of photos:

On the night of 12-26-10 we had a blizzard. You might have seen the pix here on my facebook page. There’s about 3 feet of snow outside the door of my apartment. The wind is still whipping, snow is blown into 5′ high embankments. I went into Projekt ( around 8 this morning, it’s usually only a 5 minute walk from my apartment. But with the tundra and snow banks, and lack of plowing, it took quite a bit longer. 4th Avenue was reduced to one lane, and it was creeping along. I was working at my desk. Cars would sit in one spot outside my window for 20 minutes at a time. Large trucks waiting for the traffic to clear so they could move. I was up in the attic, doing an inventory on Steve Roach CDs. Gotta get some of those repressed. Shea wasn’t coming in, because the trains were all messed up, Up in the attic, some snow had blown in through a gap above a board that’s nailed over the window, I stuffed some paper into the gap to keep snow out. I was in the office. I paypaled Android Lust a royalty advance. I was taking care of little things that never get done. Packed up a few orders for Amazon customers. I built a “sled” for my son. It was a mail-bin, with a power chord (cut off an old street-TV, once upon a time). my son and I were planning on sledding later today. I was at my desk around 2:20, I check and my last email was to Tom from Mira, about the rarities CD in the works. I noticed yellow Fire department tape fluttering in the breeze outside the window. “What’s that all about?” I wondered. I grabbed my keys and went out the door. Down at 2nd Street there was a bunch of fire trucks. I was inside the yellow tape line when I walked out my door. A fireman is shouting at me from the truck, “You cannot be in there.” “What? I work in here?” “What do you have in there?” he asks. “About 70,000 CDs,” I say. He says something about a building collapse. My building. Around the corner on 2nd Street. Traffic is blocked off on 4th Ave – turns out it’s blocked off for 20 blocks!. There’s at least 20 firemen and 3 firetrucks and police cars. Well – I fear what “building collapse” means. I fear they will condemn the building and I’ll never get my stuff out ( I remember hearing about that, after an early-90s earthquakes in Calfornia, death-by-earthquake was one of my top-2 reasons for leaving california).

I go back in my building and slam the gray door. I have to get some things out of here, so I can keep Projekt running if we’re locked out for a month. I go to my desk and unplug my computer. Fortunately, I made that sled for my son, and now I am loading it with my computer. I hear banging on the door. I keep pulling wires. The fireman jimmy their way into the foyer, and they are banging on Projekt’s door, “You have to get out.” I go and open the door, so they don’t axe it down, “I know.” There are about 5 of them standing in the foyer, “You have to get out.” I know, I say. I grab my wallet and phone. “What else do I absolutely need to run Projekt?” The back-up hard-drive. What else? I gotta get out…..

I am sledding my computer home. It falls over a few times, but lands on soft snow banks. I plug it in in my apartment and it works. I cannot get it on line. I call Lisa (my son’s mom) and tell her what’s up. I go back over to the building around 3:30. I find Steve the maintenance man. He tells me that he was getting his snow-blower out of the back bay, when he started hearing a cracking noise. He impersonates the noise. He got the hell out of the bay. The roof caved in on the cars that pay to use that space as a parking lots. Steve said it was around 1:00 (?). I didn’t hear a thing. I was working in the bullding for another hour. None of those firemen knocked on my door with a “you gotta get the hell outta there!!!”

It was only later that I wondered, “was Steve frightened?” He knows that building better than anyone. He knows where the bodies are buried.

Steve and I walk back to the area, stand across the street and look in. About 1/6 of the building’s roof has collapsed onto the cars in there. The building is like a bunch of separate buildings connected. They have old arched wooden beam roofs. They are always leaking. Athan’s computer got a bath one day. We have buckets up in the attic to catch rain that comes through the cracks in the tarpaper. There’s a skylight over my studio that leaked for a long time. Steve finally fixed it. Who knows, maybe it’s caved in onto my stuff. The building where Martin’s studio is located (only a few blocks away) was built before the civil war. This building has some ancient portions that might be from that era.

The gas people are drilling a hole in the street, to get to the gas line to shut it off. “The cops were going to send somebody in to get you,” Steve said, “I told them, ‘naw don’t get him.’ ” Steve wasn’t sayin’ his trademark “aaaaaall riiiiight” like he usually does, like a sitcom character. He was kind of stressed. There’s a FULL VACATE order on one of the doors, by the collapsed bay. Enter and risk arrest.

Later, I am sitting in the McDonalds near projekt. With my sled and my shovel – which I use as a snow shovel. I can see a bit of the curved roof over my attic. There’s no snow on it at all. My side of the building faces West. The wind has been blowing – from the west – at up to 50 miles power hour for the last 1/2 day. It’s cleared my roof off. There was no weird noises in my attic today. My side of the building is safe, I think. I walk back to where the bay is on 2nd street. The building inspector guy is there. A policewoman asks me if I can get in touch with the building owner to find Steve. I call. I talk with the inspector. He says that the owner is going to have to knock down the rest of the damaged section, take out the wall, cart it away. Then the building inspectors will go in and see if the rest of the building looks safe. If so, then we can go back in.

He says, maybe in a week, you can go in with somebody (from the city) and get some of your stuff. Uh oh. That doesn’t sound short term…… The building guy says, “I see that the sides of the building are buldging,” suggesting that this is something related to the snow on the roof. “It’s been doing that for years,” I say. “Yeah, I wrote them a citation for that,” he says happily. There is a “Vacate” sticker on the doors. My office doesn’t have that sticker (yet). My studio is in there. All my cds are in there. I need to go back in and grab a few more things.

Steve asks the building departments guy, “Hey, can you grab my snowblower for me.” It’s right by the open door, by the bay with the collapsed roof. “And my shovel.” The guy looks at them and then goes back and grabs them for Steve. I bet this guy loves crawling in dangerous buildings, surveying the wreckage. He’s probably like a kid in an abandoned house, having the time of his life.

I am thinking about what happens if we have to move. What if we have to move without our stuff ?

I am also thinking that the roof didn’t fall on me. That’s good. I am thinking about this Marc Almond song, “But Not Today.” He wrote it after his motorcycle accident. Even though he sings about a “you” he is talking about himself. @ 2:27:

Today the sun will shine a little brighter,
today’s the day my heart begins to fly.
Today my troubles feel a little lighter,
today is the day you didn’t die.

Last night, I was listening to Steve Roach on my iPod. I have about 25 of his albums on there, and then a few other songs that I like. In the middle of all the Roach ambient music, “But Not Today” came up. Yeah, I know….. my half of the building didn’t suffer damage. But you never know, right?


UPDATE: Sunday January 9 2011 ~ From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal

On 12/27/10 The roof collapsed on part of the Projekt building. The Department of Building threatens to arrest anyone who goes into the building; we have to move out. On January 1, I sent out an email list with a request for your help (and a 25% off sale). Your genorisity was amazing! The outpouring of love and support really stunned me. We brought in more money in 3 days then we usually earn in two months!!! That will go a loooooong way towards getting us out of this place and into a new office.

I did an inventory; we have 55,000 Projekt CDs here. We have a large cluttered attic; the 120-count boxes of CDs have multiplied over the years with all the new releases and all the returns from our distributors. The new space will be smaller (rents are high and we had a great deal here) — new shelving is needed.

My friend said he thinks the roof collapse is the universe’s way of telling me it is time for a change. The interesting thing is for the last 6 months, I have been purging. Sending back unsold Darkwave CDs. Putting a lot of other titles on sale to get rid of them. One weekend in September, I spent two days going through all my boxes in the attics, getting a better idea of what could be tossed, what could move with me. At that point, I wasn’t consciously planning to move. Maybe I was……(?)

It is time to get out of this dump, and get into a tight, organized office. Cooper is the guy – along with Shea – who fills your orders. A few days ago he said, ‘Sam, I don’t envy what you’re going through right now.’ Actually, I am very positive about this. First of all, I’m alive! The roof did not fall on my head. You cannot beat that! : ) Second, I love moving. It is a time to purge, reorganize, tidy. I think that’s what this is about, moving somewhere new and getting in good shape for the future of the record industry. Back in 2000, I closed Projekt’s office in Chicago and moved it all to my small rented house in Queens. In 2002 I moved to a larger house’s basement in Brooklyn. Those years were a time of down-sizing and getting rid of debt. Getting things back on track after a hedonist, and over-spent late 90s. In 2006, we moved out of the basement into our much larger space in Gowanus (the one that just had the collapse). 2011 is time for a positive step up. Lots of storage of CDs we need to slowly sell off (you know about our $6.98 sale page, yes?) and less junk that we no longer need; stuff I have hauled around since I left Chicago. A decade later, time for the dumpster. I expect we will move in the next two weeks. I looked at a few potential office spaces I like. I was whining to my friend in Florida that one of them is a 14 minute walk from my apartment. She mentioned she drives 45 minutes one-way to work. Ouch ! That puts it in perspective. I am really fortunate that I can walk to my son’s school, walk to work, walk to the supermarket. Ok, no more complaints from me about that. I will get a bike. That will work!

Every negative can be turned into a positive. An ending is a new beginning. Never problems, just opportunities………..

Shea, Cooper and I really appreciate that so many of you stepped up to help us out with your orders and your $$$$. It really is wonderful to know that Projekt means a lot to you, and in this rough time you chose to help us out! Thank You. Another update soon.

May 16, 2011

It is sort of hard to imagine that just 4 months ago, Shea and I were in the middle of total chaos resulting from the partial collapse of the roof at the Projekt building (Xmas blizzard!). We were packing, stressing, trying to not kill the landlord, and looking for a new space to move to. Now we’re in a wonderful new office that is bright, roomy and organized. It has a big backyard, a really nice wolf-of-a-dog out there named Othello, and a wonderful super named Ricky who is amazingly kind to us.

As I wrote in an email in early January, ‘Every negative can be turned into a positive. An ending is a new beginning. Never problems, just opportunities.’ 2011 is the year of renewal for Projekt. And with that in mind, I want to tell you about our newest employee…. Sarah! Except she’s not really a ‘new employee,’ Sarah somebody you might remember from a few years ago, she was our mail-order shipping person from late 2007 – mid 2010.< One of the thing I have long wanted to address is that there is a lot of work at Projekt that occupies my time, yet it is stuff that I shouldn't be doing. I should be working on new compilations, signing new bands, and of course creating more of my own music. To facilitate that, I brought Sarah back on staff. She will process and fill your orders as well as work with you on questions you might have regarding your orders. Don't worry, Shea is still here! Having Sarah handling your orders means I can pass some of my work over to Shea. She's now involved with preparing HTML for the website and eList, updating album pages, searching out press, radio & blogs (to send our promos to) and doing many other things that used to take up my day. This affects you in a very positive way. Not only are there more people working on orders, but I have more time to get new releases together. Thanks for your kindness and support.