It rises from the Canyon of Condos, high and white, into a misty March sky like the fabled mount of the gods for which it is named. Olympus: a luxury condominium in Alexandria, a monument to high-rise high-life where $100,000 will get you three bedrooms, secretarial service, a lobby filled with antiques.
But for 3 1/2 days all has not been serene there. The sign in the smoked glass outer-lobby spelled out why:
"Do Not Pour Water Down Drains Nor Flush Commodes"
Sunday morning, a major sewer pipe broke in the seven-year-old building. When the water was shut off and people started using plastic bags and balconies as toilets, the management responded. By Tuesday, three porta-potties -- Don's Johns to be exact -- had been placed outside in the "dog walk" area for resident's convenience. Eight more were lodge in the mens' and womens' saunas downstairs.
As workers dug an 18-foot-hole through the cement on the loading dock, some of the 1,000 residents checked into nearby motels. "For a while we had a problem with people bringing in their own water to fill their commodes. When they flushed, it all came down on the workers, which added to the problems," said a calm Ed Allen, from the condo management.
By yesterday afternoon, all was well again, and resident Eve Lederman asked that the incident be forgotten. "It was not a construction defect, it was merely a breading of a pipe due to settling," she said.
"We are so well built that the cement is so hard that the plumbers had a hard time getting through it . . . it could happen to anyone anytime . . . If you write a story it is going to hurt us. The property value would go down and we won't be able to get a good price when we sell."