City to tear down abandoned Van Nest house

This vacant Wallace Avenue home has seen better days. Now the city has plans to knock it down.
Photo courtesy Community Board 11

It’s a crumbling mystery that’s about to vanish.

An abandoned, decrepid house in Van Nest with a puzzling history will soon be torn down.

The city has been authorized to raze the two-story home at 1910 Wallace Avenue after the building’s owner failed to show up at a Bronx Supreme Court hearing Tuesday, May 13.

Neighbors said that what was once a spacious family home on a quiet side street between Rhinelander and Bronxdale avenues, has been overrun with cats and trash.

“Moss, mildew, mold. You name it, it’s in there,” said John Bellino, who has lived next door at 1912 Wallace Ave. for 30 years.

‘Unsafe’ old digs

The city Department of Buildings slapped the 1910 Wallace Ave. property owner – listed as the estate of Anna Corr – with a court summons in January. In April, a DOB inspector deemed the house “unsafe and dangerous.” Among the complaints listed were broken front and rear doors so weak that they could be entered by anyone on the street. The rusting porch roof was also deemed to be in “severe defective” condition.

Son tries to save it?

No one has lived in the blue wood-frame house for years. But Anna Corr’s son Brian had made sporadic attempts to clean up the place, most recently stopping by this winter to shovel the snow, said Mike Nelligan, who lives next door at 1908 Wallace Avenue.

Nelligan said that Brian invited him into the house a handful of times. Inside, said Nelligan, was a “beautiful” grand piano, along with thousands of VHS tapes stacked in piles.

Nelligan said that Corr had told him that he had plans to restore the home. But in February 2014, Brian Corr died, according to state death records.

“He said he would be putting money into the house,” said Nelligan. “If you go in there, there’s brand new planks of wood. He was ready to do it. If he didn’t get sick it would have been done.”

Family from Florida?

Nelligan and Bellino said that a man identifying himself as a “family member from Florida” dropped by the house a month ago to put padlocks on the doors.

But no representative for the Corr family showed at the May 13 court date, presided over by Judge Zachary Carter, where the property owner could have presented a plan to renovate the building.

With the judge’s stamp of approval, the city will now demolish the site in six to nine months, said DOB spokeswoman Kelly Magee.

Fallout over felines

The abandoned house’s fate now decided, neighbors have turned their concern to the health hazards that could accompany the building’s demolition.

“They’ve got to tarp it or cover it, because I’m not having moss and spores come into my house through the windows,” said Nelligan.

They’re also worried about the fate of the dozens of stray cats who they say now live within the abandoned house.

“Unless a no-kill shelter or the ASPCA comes in to round them up,” warned Bellino, “You’re going to have a lot of dead cats.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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