An apartment building in the West Village was evacuated Wednesday after bricks fell from the facade onto the street.
No injuries were reported.
Buildings inspectors found cracks in the 100-year-old building at 85 Christopher St. and ordered a mandatory evacuation of all 22 apartments.
Residents were allowed only brief visits to their apartments under police escort Wednesday evening to collect a few belongings. Some were taking shelter at a nearby church until they could make other plans.
Residents said the roof had been leaking water before the bricks fell. One woman said she's complained about leaks and vibrations in building for 15 years.
"And the problem keeps worse. There are leaks to the apartment below, there are leaks to the apartment next to me," said resident Inci Ali.
Officials are investigating whether the problem is just in the facade or is a serious structural concern.
According to the Department of Buildings, there are nine active violations against the building, including one from March 2013 for failing to maintain the building. The complaint specifically cites bulging bricks on the fifth floor.
The department says the owner also got a permit to repair walls and floor joists on the first and second floors on March 7.
"This building needs real work," said Councilman Corey Johnson. "Hopefully the department of buildings can go in and make sure there aren't other violations that make it unsafe for people to live here."
Most families should be allowed to return Thursday, except for the those who live on the top floor, which are expected to remain off-limits until extensive repairs can be made, according to Johnson.
Attempts to reach the building owner and the management company were not successful Thursday.
--Gus Rosendale contributed to this story