The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but Mr. Lynch ( the executive director of the Buildings Department’s forensic engineering unit) said last week that one possible factor was the empty space next to the wall that came down.
Nineteenth-century town houses, he explained, were generally built in clusters of three or four homes called sister houses, and the adjoining structures were a central part of what kept them standing. While the brownstone to the left of 241 Carroll Street still stands, the one to its right was torn down in the mid-1950s to make way for the school, Public School 58. Over time, very slowly, the lonely brownstone without its right-hand neighbor might have become unstable.
The sad turn of phrase only makes life on the home front shakier & more of a personal affront than ever.