Klein helps secure shuttered restaurant

Boards now cover the sidewalk dinning area, windows, and doors of the fire-ravaged Neptune Inn (above), a once-popular City Island eatery destroyed in a fire and oftentimes a playground to both vandals and wild animals. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

After ravenous fire destroyed much of the Neptune Inn, a once-popular City Island eatery, the site remained open to the elements, until Senator Klein prodded several city agencies to force the owner to seal the building.

Klein reached out to the Department of Buildings after a constituent complained that the former restaurant at 33 City Island Avenue, which closed after a fire more than two years ago, had broken windows leaving it open to both vandals and animals.

“Clearly, this has become a community eyesore over more than two years, with vandals entering the property,” Klein said. “People’s houses and other places of historic interest are nearby,” he further explained as the main reason action was taken.

At Klein’s urging, the Department of Buildings issued a violation to the owner, listed on filings as 33 City Island Avenue, LLC, for an “Unsafe Building” on August 2. Klein’s office was told that the building’s owner is living in Florida, and was notified that repairs were needed to secure the site.

“It appears as though the owners stepped in after the DOB violation and cleaned it up themselves,” said Seth Donlin, chief of staff for Klein. “We are still trying to figure out who did the dirty work for the owner. We had contacted the Department of Health and the DOB, who got in touch with the owner.”

With rabid raccoons recently found by the DOH on City Island near the location of the restaurant, it was especially important that the site be secured so that wild animals, as well as vagrants, do not have access to the area.

The windows and doors of the building are now boarded up, and the dangerous building, which has a partially collapsed roof, is now off-limits.

“The Neptune Inn had a very bad fire where firefighters were injured when part of the roof caved in,” said Maureen Hraska, who lives around the corner from the restaurant on Rochelle Street, highlighting the potential danger to anyone who may enter.

Donlin said that he understands that the building is up for sale, and that the owner is in negations with two separate parties.

A local realtor, Jaclyn Kyle Kall of Port of Kall Realty said she is handling the sale of the restaurant.

“The property has been under contract for a year and a half,” Kall said.

Kall said she expects a deal to be forthcoming in a relatively short amount of time. The buyer is rumored to be Sammy Chirnin, owner of the popular Sammy’s Fish Box and Seashore restaurants on City Island.

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