And that would be the loss of another special thing in a neighborhood that’s lost far too many special things over the years.
The residents of Woodhaven are angry and we are going to gather in front of the Ambulance Corps this Sunday, March 2, at 1 p.m. to call on the city to do something about this building, which collapsed last April, raining bricks and debris on the street and on to the roof of the WRHVAC.
The building was poorly maintained and well-known to authorities, with over 40 open violations at the time of the collapse. It was a miracle that no one was killed.
The destruction caused the WRHVAC to cease operations for a spell. Just as importantly, it forced the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center, operated by Catholic Charities, to relocate. The senior center’s rent was integral to the WRHVAC’s survival and without it, they are in deep trouble.
The owner of the building owes the city over $60,000 in fines and penalties and there is currently a warrant out for his arrest. The building itself is in shambles, with 2nd floor walls hanging perilously over the sidewalks of Jamaica Avenue and 79th Street.
There is scaffolding around the building, but should one of those walls come down, that scaffolding will not protect pedestrians below; it will just be added to the debris that crushes them to death.
This past Saturday, WRHVAC President Kathy Sexton Dalby went into the offices and heard water pouring into the back of the building. She found nearly two feet of water coming from the partially collapsed building next door. All of the snow was melting and overwhelming the WRHVAC’s roof.
She heard a creaking noise and ran from the building. The FDNY came and though they said the WRHVAC’s roof was okay, they said that it looked like a wall from the building next door had shifted.
There is mold growing on the walls of WRHVAC. The kitchen in the back has been completely destroyed. I stood there just outside of the kitchen watching water pour into the building.
The WRHVAC has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building next door, but that will never be resolved in time to save them. And the insurance company can do nothing until the threat of the building next door is resolved.
This week, a representative from the Department of Buildings sent out an email listing the various 311 complaints that are open against this building, along with the fines levied, and finished by saying “I hope this addresses your concerns.”
No, it does not. Not by a damn sight.
The owner of that building has shown gross negligence in allowing the property to sit like that and the Department of Buildings and the City of New York is starting to look not much better.
This building is a danger to the residents of Woodhaven and it makes my blood boil that over 10 months later the city has allowed it to stand in this condition.
We ask residents to come out and show the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps some support in return for all the hard work they have done over the past five decades. Bring some homemade signs and come prepared to yell and make some noise.
We ask our elected officials to put pressure of the Department of Buildings and the City of New York to address this growing problem, and to address it so that it is not a danger to residents and neighbors. And we ask them to call them every single day until this is done.
Hope to see you on Sunday.