RCR Management: Squatters, Teen Vandals at Bayside Manor

As published in the Queens Courier, October 4, 2012:

Squatters, teen vandals trespassing in Queens development
By Melissa Chan

A quiet Bayside development has become the target of illegal trespassing after building management refused to put locks on basement doors that welcome homeless squatters and a band of teenage vandals, residents say.

“It’s the craziest thing. I’ve been in this community for 53 years. I don’t think I’ve ever had to deal with something like this,” said Bayside Manors resident Jack Oshier, 67. “We don’t have problems like this in Bayside.”

According to Oshier, two basements in the apartment complex — located at 42-10 212th Street and 42-40 212th Street — have been facing major security issues since February, when residents learned their lower level laundry rooms had become guest houses for sleeping homeless people and a recurring group of at least 10 teenagers looking for a place to hang out and drink.

The nightly visitors, Oshier said, do not even have to break in, since they freely enter and exit through the unlocked basement doors left ajar every hour of the day.

The basements are not connected to the residential sections of the building, but residents say they are still scared to venture down at night in fear of running into an intruder.

“I don’t go at night once it gets dark, and I do all my laundry early in the morning,” said resident Debbie Sindicic. “But that’s when I find all the remnants of the night before.”

Sindicic, who has found small, empty plastic baggies lying around the basement floors, said she suspects the crashers are smoking marijuana.

Oshier said he sees the same homeless man leaving the 42-40 212th Street basement every morning and has picked up empty beer cans strewn around the basement rooms in the other building. Residents have also allegedly spotted the teens engaging in sexual activity at times, he said.

Still, officials at WPH Apartments Inc., which manages the buildings, have not lifted a finger to fix the problem, Oshier said.

“This situation has turned almost criminal,” he said. “Suppose someone gets hurt? What if someone follows a tenant into the laundry room? The majority of residents here have an animosity toward the situation because management here has a very casual attitude about what is happening.”

Management did not return calls for comment, but in a February 24 letter sent to Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, managing agent Ohad Badani promised to lock basement doors each night at 8 p.m. and to instruct staff members to inspect the laundry rooms for loiterers periodically throughout the day.

“Furthermore, in the coming months, we intend to install new building entrance doors. Once the installation of the entrance doors is completed, we will look into installing the same locks on the laundry room doors,” Badani wrote.

But more than half a year later, residents and Braunstein’s office say none of those changes have been implemented.

“It creates a dangerous element around the building,” said David Fischer, Braunstein’s chief of staff. “This is a situation where the building doesn’t seem to care about the safety of its residents.”

The 111th Precinct is “currently attempting to work with property managers to enforce trespass laws,” according to Community Affairs Officer Bill Conway. But unless building administration signs off on a trespass affidavit, police cannot make arrests, he said.

“We want it fixed,” Oshier said. “It just doesn’t make sense. What is the big deal about putting the proper security lock on a door?”

Stop Work Orders? Fuggetaboutit!

Although there was a Stop Work Order in effect at 102 West 86th Street, this did not stop Rick Eisenberg and company from building an exterior deck on the roof of the 2nd floor rear apartment and converting a window into a full-length french door resulting in a “change of use” (from roof to deck) and a “change in egress” (from window to door) in a landmark building, no less. Construction permit? Fuggetaboutit!

Although many complaints were filed with the DOB, and an inspector actually was able to view the deck as witnessed by a tenant in the building, the issue is closed on the DOB web site claiming they were “unable to gain access”. Hmmm…..Actually, it’s really astonishing to note the low ratio of complaints to violations in many of their buildings.

Meanwhile, here are some pics of the deck construction which was built by a small army at an amazing pace within five days between May 8th and May 13th, 2008:

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This is the same building that recently converted two apartments on the top floor into one apartment so that it would no longer be governed under rent stabilization rules. Cute!

Let the Brockholst Children Breathe Lead Dust

According to a NY Times article by Christopher Gray on January 2, 2000, Marcus Retter and his father-in-law, Charles Rosen a/k/a Chiel Rosenblatt, bought the 1890 Romananesque revival building at 101 West 85th Street, called the Brockholst, in 1956.

Although this was another building with a Stop Work Order, a complaint was filed on May 12, 2008 regarding an illegal renovation of apartment #4 on the 5th floor. Another surprise is the fact that there is no Complaint Disposition/Inspection History by the NYC DOB.

Meanwhile, Richard Eisenberg’s General Contractor, Eliot Gans, officially filed for a permit on June 18, 2008 to renovate apartment #5-4 as follows:
ALTERATION TYPE 2 – GEN.CONSTRUCTN.
RENOVATE APARTMENT REPLACE EXISTING FIXTURES IN EXISTING LOCS W/NEW ADD ONE HANFICAP ADAPTABLE BATHROOM INSTALL DROP CEILING THROUGOUT USING 2 2/1″ MTL STUB FRAMING RENOVATE EXISTING PARTITIONS W/ SHEETROCK RELOCATE KITCHEN AS SHOWN O N DRAWING FILED HEREWITH NO CAHNGE IN USE EGRESS OR OCCUPANCY [sic]

Here is what the dumpster in front of the Brockholst looked like on July 9, 2008:

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Wow. The overflowing dumpster would seem to indicate a full “gut” demolition/renovation rather than what was filed. Hmmm…..

Meanwhile, the dust and debris in the building was unparalleled, not to mention the dislodging of vermin (waterbugs, mice, rats) formerly living behind the walls, and made it all the worse for children and numerous dogs and cats who live in the building.

How the DHCR Inspector Was Duped

Here is how 85 Columbus Corp at 101 West 85th Street (the Brockholst) tried to push through a $1.755 million MCI rent increase against the tenants.

On the days before (September 27-28, 2009) the DHCR Inspector arrived (September 29,2009) to inspect the exterior pointing, they cosmetically corrected all evidence of inadequate exterior pointing as would have been shown by multiple leaks in public area walls and ceilings. Ari Paul would not allow any tenants to speak with Cambos Kyriakos, the DHCR Inspector.

Approximately one month before the DHCR inspection, apartments 2-4, 3-4, 4-5, 6-1, 6-3, 6-14 had rooms shortened by the addition of Durock cement walls added over the areas of exterior wall leaks. Tenants were threatened with eviction if they did not allow the cosmetic work to be completed. Some tenants had physical injuries and destroyed personal property as result of the inexperience of the workers.

 

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