Marvin Place residents: Take our street, please

Marvin Place, located a few blocks from Westchester Square, is not officially a city street, and therefore has not been paved in decades. - Photo by Adam Bermudez

Approximately every four or five years residents of Marvin Place say they are notified that the street is for sale, a proposition that frequently confuses real estate speculators.

“They’d walk down the street, looking around, and ask, ‘Where is the lot for sale?’ I’d say, ‘You’re standing on it. It’s the street,’” John Grimes, a longtime homeowner said. 

Marvin Place off St. Raymond Avenue, between St. Peter’s Avenue and Overing Street, would seem like any other Westchester Square area lane, but the lack of paving would express otherwise.  To the dismay of local residents, the city never officially mapped the street, leaving many confused as to its status. City records sometimes showing the street as an unowned piece of land. 

But residents living there know different. Local community activists Sandi Lusk and Dorothy Krynicki confirmed efforts over the past 20 years to organize residents to seek action and have the street mapped, however, they said this is the first time in two decades that results may actually be on the horizon. 

After Senator Jeff Klein stepped in to help residents fill potholes plaguing the street, he soon discovered its unmapped status.

“It’s one of the stranger cases we’ve had, but these things happen,” Klein said.

After having the potholes taken care of, residents wondered if he could also have the street paved, to which Department of Transportation officials informed the senator that they do not pave unmapped streets. 

Seeking a resolution, Klein has facilitated a dialogue between residents of Marvin Place and Community Board 10.  The board had been first approached with this issue over a year ago, but at the senator’s recent request, CB 10 sent out letters asking residents to express their feelings on the matter; whether they would like the street mapped or unmapped. 

“The ball’s in their court now,” a spokesperson for the senator said. 

Residents may opt to leave the street alone, as there are some advantages to living on an unmapped street, including not having to deal with Department of Sanitation summonses, among other benefits.

If a majority of residents ask for the street to be mapped, CB 10 will send a recommendation to the borough president, who will then make the ultimate decision.  This would lead to the street paving many desire. 

Grimes’ son, and fellow Marvin Place resident, said a newly-paved street would be great for local families. “There’s a lot of kids around here,” he said, “and it would be safer for them if it were paved.”

Despite the lack of paving, life on Marvin Place remains normal, with the city offering limited services, such as sanitation and snow removal to the residents. 

Still, the lane’s present status means that inclement weather often reawakens the once-covered potholes on the uneven, gravel-covered street. 

“They fix it, and then the winter comes, and the potholes are back again,” local resident Helen Samuels said.  “We’ve been waiting forever to see something done.  I hope our wait is almost over.”

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