Sunday, January 12, 2014

Condition of unique Kew Gardens house is a damn shame

From the Queens Chronicle:

A former resident of what he says is the borough’s only Anglo-Japanese-style home is furious at the vacant building’s ongoing descent into decay and dilapidation.

The home, located at 84-62 Beverly Road in Kew Gardens, looks more like the setting of a horror movie than a historic, nearly 100-year-old piece of significant architecture.

The windows have been sealed with concrete and a mysterious sign is taped to the inside of the front door’s glass windows, warning any intrigued passersby to “stay away,” that the property is “being watched” and any trespassers will be arrested.

A phone number was on the sign, but a message saying the number is out of service was heard when called by the Chronicle.

As spooky as the abandoned house appears, its sealed, cement-filled windows can be easily explained.

Two unsafe building violations were issued by the Department of Buildings on Sept. 26, 2009, but Mun Chang, listed as the home’s owner since 1973, never appeared in court or attempted to fight the tickets.

A court order to seal the home was issued on Jan. 6, 2010 and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development closed the windows with cement shortly after.

James Melikian, who lived in the home as a young child from 1956 to 1969 with his family, works to save historic buildings in Arizona, where he now lives.

He told the Chronicle in an email that every time he visits Queens, he is upset to see his childhood home in shambles.

“Whenever we visit New York City, we try to drive past our former Beverly Road home and are always saddened to see it in such disrepair after knowing its great history and distinct architectural beauty,” Melikian said. “This Anglo-Japanese-style house ... is the lone survivor of three such houses that stood at that intersection.”


Joe Moretti said...

More destruction by immigrants who do not care about the communities.

Anonymous said...

Yep joe, you are correct. These immigrants can care less how shitty they are making our neighborhoods look. It is a damn shame that our government allows it. I bet you that house is being used as some illegal hotel....

Anonymous said...

"He told the Chronicle in an email that every time he visits Queens, he is upset to see his childhood home in shambles."

Most of us Queens born residents will end up feeling that way too.

Missing Foundation said...

Do not blame immigrants. If we had a strong preservation lobby that extended beyond narrow wealthy communities things would be very different.

Immigrants the dups within a corrupt system - they are encouraged to this to buildings - as everyone else - because the pols and the city wants to hollow out communities for development.

Owner occupied housing and strong civics are nightmares for pols. Transients and hipsters running to taco trucks that are not interested in the political process are a politician's dream.

Anonymous said...

The background to this story is very instructive and should be shared with everyone.

The reporter was calling around to various sources to get feedback on this - the former homeowner having written directly to the paper so it could not be, as usual, ignored.

The reporter was told to contact the following:

1. Borough Historian.

2. Local Councilman.

3. Local Community Board.

4. History Advisory Committee, chaired by Queens Historical Society that meets monthly at Queens Borough Hall.

5. The Four Borough Preservation Alliance.

6. Queens Civic Congress.

Instead, a local historian was contacted that gave a tidbit of history, and the former owner was left to lament powerlessness and a grim fate for the building.

This little act by the Queens insiders in politics and the media used to hoodwink us back in the 90s thinking that they were actually doing articles on community preservation.

Now we know they are all full of bullshit. And the faster the rest of us realize this, and force the issue on them, the fast we can finally move forward.

There is no reason that this building - multiplied hundreds of times across the borough - has to look like this.

It is the fault of a broken civic culture in Queens pure n simple.

Anonymous said...

What I never understand is, if you can't or won't maintain a house and/or property, why not just sell it? Is the owner paying real estate taxes on it every year but still neglecting the house? Why waste money like that - just sell it to someone else.

Anonymous said...

Who is the owner? Where is the owner?

Anonymous said...

Who is the owner? Where is the owner?

According to the property tax records, the real estate bill is mailed to the owner at his Manhattan (East Village) address.

Anonymous said...

"Why waste money like that - just sell it to someone else."
It's value has been going up every year. More then you can make in a bank if you cash out. A corner property there in that nabe has to go for close to a million empty. Zillow has the house listed for $1.29M as is. Taxes are "only" $8,900 a year.

Anonymous said...

It's value has been going up every year.

Yeah, but Zillow and other websites don't know the condition of the house - the prices they quote are not just for the property, since they think there is a house on the land that's in live-in condition.

Anonymous said...

It still begs the question: if the house is worth more than the owner paid for it or owes on it - sell it. Mental illness is a scary thing.

Anonymous said...

The mystery is a house like this either gets an owner who wants to fix it up or an owner who "as of right" tears it down and create a profit-maximizing Fedders special extending the foundation to the limit (and perhaps beyond it).

But this house remains stuck in time. Why?

Steve P said...

Sad, but I've seen many much worse. The lawn is cut and not a spec of garbage on it.

If legislation is written to call this a violation that would set a very bad precedent.

Look at once nice homes in the not so nice neighborhoods and then talk to me.

georgetheatheist said...

"Stay away", "The Property is Being Watched". I like it. It'll work nicely with my "Beware of Dog" signs and NRA decals.

Queens Crapper said...

There already is legislation to call this a violation. It's called "failure to maintain". It's also illegal to keep a building "vacant and unguarded". This was cited for both. Prior to 2007, there were complaints about illegal conversion throughout the building. There are 2 unresolved violations on file for this property for "unsafe building". Steve P, please don't let the door hit you on the way out. You are part of the problem here. The house is a public safety issue because it's inviting vagrants and squatters, who set fires to keep warm and could potentially burn down the entire block.

Anonymous said...

There already is legislation to call this a violation. It's called "failure to maintain". It's also illegal to keep a building "vacant and unguarded"

I saw the windows of first floor have been boarded up. I don't think the city can do anything about it, even though it is deteriorating the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the city can do anything about it, even though it is deteriorating the neighborhood.
The city can do anything it wants - there is no pressure from the residents of Queens to pressure the pols to do something.

Anonymous said...

Other than Michael Pearlman, most residents of the 29th District are too apathetic to contact their elected officials or start a preservationist group.

Anonymous said...

People are apathetic cause the machine wants them to be by offering every encouragement for them to stay out of civic involvement - from the vetting process that gives us stupid hack candidates to funding or not funding favored groups to control of what is left of the Queens media to giving inducements to your neighbors to do their dirty work by tripping you up.

What is needed is to cut these chains from us - Crappy is a start - and the fact that everyone knows that the system is broken and getting worse each year...

Anonymous said...

Well the first step is taken here - discrediting city council, the community board, the borough historian, the established preservation groups and the toothless civic culture of the borough is a start.

Queensmarks are to real landmarks as 'special police' badges in cereal is to NYPD badges.

Incessantly talking about diversity, religious freedom, and the things that give politicians photo ops with kids is nothing of substance.

Queens needs a reboot.

Anonymous said...

"The background to this story is very instructive" ...

How do you know who the reporter was told to contact?

This paper publishes this article — no one else did — and all you've got are complaints because it wasn't written the way you'd like it to be written? Not a word saying it's good it was published?

And then you concoct some kind of conspiracy out of that?

Your post proves just one thing: You're a dick.

Queens Crapper said...

Perhaps this commenter instructed the reporter who to contact when said reporter called asking for info.

James Melikian said...

I'm so glad that there are others out there who care about our historic past and are trying to save what is left of it-especially unique homes like this one that I grew up in. If anyone has any ideas to share, please do so with me. Though now living in Phoenix, I hope to continue my effort to bring attention to such nearly lost pieces of Queen's past.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps so, Crapper, but unless his or her name is in the Chronicle staff box above the reporter's, the poster doesn't get to tell him to do anything. Recommend, sure. Tell, no.

But it's the ridiculous conspiracy theory that basically says the paper proves it wants to cover up the issue by running a story about it that pissed off this poster. That's the logic of the insane.

Some of these posters should spend some time in a newsroom, as I have, before shooting off their mouths. They've obviously got no clue. For one thing, the reporter probably wrote seven or eight other stories that week. Looks to me like this one got plenty of space in that paper.

But that's enough on this. Let's see someone who has the means and connections, which the reporter probably doesn't have, now actually do something.

Anonymous said...

Ah, shucks, someone's drawers are in a knot.

Blogs like this (which you cannot control) will soon dominate news coverage. You cannot pull the wool over people's eyes forever.

Get used to it.

You are going to see a lot more of this in the future.

Anonymous said...

A lot more of what? Reposting of portions of stories so you can armchair quarterback them?

If that's going to 'dominate news coverage' we're in worse shape than I even realized. Of course it's not. And of course you're a dick regardless.

Queens Crapper said...

This blog has plenty of original content that the weeklies see fit to crib off without attribution. In fact, I can usually predict which stories will be repeated the following Thursday in the papers. The Klein farm, the Elmhurst cemetery, etc. I'm not complaining, just pointing out that I post a lot more than just excerpts from other sources. And I don't get paid to find news, either.

Anonymous said...

This house is for sale!