Friday, May 30, 2014

Forest Hills apartment complex has seen better days

Horticulturally challenged apartment building 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. [the Ethan Allen], between 67th Drive and 68th Avenue, previously mentioned in Queens Crap with regard to cemented-over tree pits on both sides of the building, seems to be continuing in the same vein with its recently installed “Keep Off the Grass” signs. It looks as though they’ve [kind of] planted some sad shrubs, complete with tags attached, in the dusty and trash-strewn soil. We don’t seem to detect any “grass” on these areas, nor has the property had more than some tufts for years thanks to its neglected state. The signs have left many a pedestrian scratching their heads and taking photos, as have the cemented tree pits. We’re wondering who’s directing this pathetic “beautification” project.

The entire property, complete with beverage containers, discarded fruit, cigarette butts, dog waste and other gems, remains a blighted disgrace, in harsh contrast to its surroundings. Rocky debris covers all would-be "lawn" areas, most likely the result of a poorly executed 2013 facade project. [Neighboring buildings were treated to dust, dirt, and trash and garbage as a result of unsupervised masonry workers dining al fresco.] And while it's one of the few buildings in the area with a spacious yard, it's been allowed to deteriorate into a decaying and graffiti-covered embarrassment, with broken benches, crumbling concrete, a non-level, tarred surface with filled-in cracks on display, and tarred-over tree roots attempting to free themselves. [Torturing trees seems to be a motif at this address.] There’s a not-surprising notice regarding rat bait on the yard fence.

67-70 Yellowstone workers make a very loud, almost daily show of blowing leaves around but, apparently, not doing much else. What’s evident to all passersby seems to escape their notice. Deflated helium balloons have remained snagged in low-hanging tree branches for months, while other detritus has rotted in place for even longer periods. Broken windows adorn the property at cellar level on all sides. Cable wires, dead and alive, snake past apartment windows and fire escapes. A stroll up to the entrance reveals gaping fissures in the concrete path, cracked, rusted lamp bases, and an arrangement of cracked and broken bricks badly in need of replacement as a “step” at the entry. Dirty street-level screen doors and entrance areas don't exactly call out, "Great building, fill out an application."

The property didn't even have a legal sidewalk on the 68th Avenue side until last year. [The tree pits were cemented over as part of the "facade renovation."]

And now comes the 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. version of landscaping. The owners seems to think that putting up a few signs, when they obviously couldn't care less about the condition of the property themselves, is the key to discouraging bad behavior. Signs might be effective if everything about the property didn’t currently suggest: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

A shout-out to the owners and crew of this disaster area for pretending not to notice that almost every other building in Forest Hills offers an example of what basic property maintenance looks like, not to mention beautification, and it ain't this. If we do find any clean, healthy grass or even some genuine soil at 67-70 Yellowstone, we’ll be sure to "Keep Off."

- Forest Hills Wanderer


Anonymous said...

Yet another problem obvious to all except our elected officials who insist on turning a blind eye as the fill their day with the concerns of transgender youth, Bolivian Independence Day, and street renamings - and their evenings with developers bent on taking advantage of communities weakened by issues like this.

Joe Moretti said...

Second that Anon #1. Hell, this looks like some of the places in Jamaica.

ron s said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.....

Joe said...

2 of the Ramones (Johnny and Doug "Dee Dee" both lived in that complex. It was once real nice all R.I.P (including the building)
I was a teenager at the time they practiced in Jeffs mothers beauty parlor basement on Austin street after hours.
Old Jewish people would light the local police pct switchboard up like a Christmas tree at 10PM on the dot

Anonymous said...

An online check reveals that the property is not currently registered with HPD. [$13.]

Tenants say that management has never been interested in making the property look good or addressing ongoing issues regarding building security, vermin, etc. But the property’s experienced even more of a decline in recent years after good supers left and the owner installed one of the porters, who [according to them] has no qualifications and a baaaaad attitude, always a nice combination. They say the owners have refused to address this, despite numerous, ongoing complaints. Apparently, one of the owners visits on a weekly basis, so the conditions pictured must be okay with him.

Anyone who lives nearby can see what goes on at this place.
Last year's facade work appeared to be an unsupervised project, complete with Stop Work Order, and it affected the whole area. At one point they poured cement into some craters on the old illegal sidewalk and left for the day, no cones, no signs, no nothin'. Pedestrians were left to discover the wet surprise on their own, and discover it they did.

Kudos to the owners for hiring only the very best and also for the community spirit. But then you’ve gotta feel bad for them. It looks like they blew that $13 HPD registration fee on the gardening project.

FH Wanderer

Anonymous said...

This is a response to the first comment, regarding elected officials. CM Koslowitz's office responded to complaints regarding lack of cleanup during the facade work at this address last year when piles of masonry dust and rocks were being left on the building’s ledges, fire escapes and the entire outdoor area on a daily basis. As stated in the article, the dust was also affecting other properties. Koslowitz’s office expedited a requested DEP inspection, which resulted in a violation regarding Air Quality & Dust, and also contacted the building's management. If she'd been asked to step in earlier in the job, it might have gone differently. Unfortunately, it was almost done by the time she was contacted. Assemblyman Hevesi's office has been a tremendous help with the cemented tree pits, after being contacted by neighborhood residents. The Parks Dept. hadn't responded to several prior complaints but 'suddenly' showed up after this was called out to both KK and Hevesi and publicized on QueensCrap. Forestry issued a violation, so now the tree pits will have to be corrected, with the city reinspecting. The trees will have to be maintained in a healthy state. Hevesi's office is also involved with attempting to correct other illegal conditions at 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. Elected officials can't influence the results of inspections but they can assist in getting inspections performed when complaints are falling on deaf ears. They can also contact building management to find out why the issues aren’t being addressed. While they also have to consider management’s side of the story, to the credit of both these offices, they looked hard at the detailed evidence that was given to them and found little in the ‘explanations’ they received that could serve as an excuse for these conditions. It would be bad enough if only the tenants of 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. and their visitors were affected by the way it’s managed, but this approach also affects the entire neighborhood. It’s important that negligent owners be made to see that they don’t operate in a vacuum. In this case, two elected officials were more than willing to step in and will presumably continue to take an interest. Just wanted to get that out there.

Anonymous said...

Wow….I lived in this building in the 90’s until 2004. I can’t believe the condition of this place now. The apartment's are spacious including a sunk in living room. The lobby could be so nice if they renovated. So glad I moved to Florida. What are the rents for a one bedroom now. What a shame!