Bay Ridge residents living next to a derelict 83rd Street property are demanding the city help them end a five-year invasion of vermin and ne’er-do-well teens — and to prevent what they fear could become another Ovington Avenue-style collapse.
Neighbors fearing another neglect-induced cave-in like the one that befell a home on Ovington Avenue between Fifth and Sixth avenues last month, say it’s time for the city to do something about a Victorian-style house that’s been rotting away for half a decade between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue.
“I’m scared,” said Danielle Basso, a mother of three who lives next door. “It’s unfortunate, because it’s a beautiful structure, but it should be torn down.”
Basso said that she and her husband have had to pay to have the derelict house fumigated to clear out the bees and termites that threaten to jump to their home. High schoolers frequently sneak inside to do drugs as well, she said.
“I think it’s mostly pot, but there might be something harder going on in there,” Basso said.
Siu Leung, another neighbor, has a few horror stories of her own — including combating swarms of insects living in the overgrown foliage surrounding the broken-down building.
“We don’t even go out in our backyard because we have so many mosquitoes,” Leung said, adding that there are also three raccoons living inside the structure that sometimes scamper across her lawn, and that the building’s roof shingles rain down onto her driveway. “I’m so fed up and I don’t know what to do.”
Leung echoes Basso’s calls for the house to be taken down — before it comes down on its own.
“I am really concerned that this building will eventually collapse,” said Leung. “Just knock it down. Force the owner to do it, or have the city do it and bill him.”
Both Leung and Basso described the property-holder, Gamal Hasan, as friendly, but said their pleas to have the house repaired have gone unanswered.
“He’ll come and clean up sometimes, but he’s never boarded up more than 20 percent of the windows, which is what you have to do to keep the rain and animals out,” said Basso. “He says he’s trying, but we don’t know.”
Buildings Department records show Hasan owes $57,000 in fines for code violations on the building, including for failing to maintain its exterior.
Repeated calls to Hasan, who works as a realtor at a Century 21 on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, were not returned.
Leung said she’s made repeated calls to the Department of Buildings to get it to take down the structure, but with no results. She fears the city is unaware of a gaping hole in the roof that she said allows gallons of rain water to pour through the house and destabilize its support beams.
Basso said she’s been in touch with state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) about her problems with the building, who she said assured her he was working toward a solution.
Golden’s office confirmed that it had received the complaints, and said it would attempt to get inspectors on the scene soon — and, if necessary, have the house razed.
“If they found it unsafe, we would definitely support it being taken down so not to hurt anyone or cause damage,” Golden spokesman John Quaglione said.
©2012 Community News Group
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