The Long Island Rail Road has closed one of the staircases at its Bayside station after an adjacent building was deemed to be in danger of collapsing, community leaders said.
The city's Department of Buildings forced the site's owner, nail salon, to vacate the property, which is located at 41-17 Bell Blvd. next to the LIRR train station.
Bayside leaders said they were concerned not only that the property could collapse, but also that shutting down one of the staircases from the train station to Bell Boulevard could lead to a crowded platform.
"It's dangerous because, theoretically, it could collapse as people are coming up or down the stairs," said Frank Skala, a member and president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association. "And if that entrance is closed off, then there could be more pushing and shoving on the platform. In the evenings, people come off the train two or three dozen at a time."
According to the DOB's website, the Rani building was vacated following a late August inspection, which found that the property's structural stability was in question due to cracked beams in its basement. In addition, two walls were found to be cracked and shoring had been completed at the site without a permit.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager for CB 11, said she was not sure how long the LIRR's staircase would be closed.
"We don't know when the staircase will reopen," she said. "The concern is that the building might fall on the staircase."
LIRR Spokesman Salvatore Arena said the agency closed the staircase as a safety precaution.
"The safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority," he said. "Once we are convinced that safe passage can be assured, the staircase will be opened to the public."
It was unclear whether the DOB planned on taking further action at the Rani building at this time.
Lyle Sclair, director of the , said the group was attempting to coordinate with both agencies to determine what would happen at the site.