Morris Park eyesore home sealed

The home at 1932 Wallace Avenue was sealed by NYC Department of Housing Perseveration and Development after being found wide open.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

An abandoned eyesore in Morris Park was finally sealed after neighbors complained of trespassing.

A vacant house at 1932 Wallace Avenue, which local activists believe was being used by squatters for illicit activity, was shuttered by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development recently after being left exposed to the elementsfor a long time.

Residents brought the problem to the Morris Park Community Association, said the organization’s president Tony Signorile. Waist-high weeds still need to be removed from the backyard.

In the past there’s been some evidence of squatters and possible drug use at the location, he said.

Activist Joe Bombace reached out to Councilman Ritchie Torres, who reached out to HPD’s Emergency Services to seal the house.

The agency concreted the doorway and sealed windows with wooden barriers.

“I see protecting quality of life as a core function of city government,” said Torres. “So when we found out that there was a vacant, abandoned property with an insecure door, with squatters and graffiti, we were able to mobilize volunteers to clean up the graffiti, and have HPD secure the door.”

Because of the actions that were taken, it is no longer a blight on the community, said the councilman.

“The neighbors were very disgusted about living under those conditions,” stated Bombace. “The doors were wide open, and there was graffiti all over the place.”

The activist said that he reached out to Torres’ office because when the councilman says he is going to do something he does it.

The house is in foreclosure, said a Torres spokesman.

Reynaldo Valentin, a next-door neighbor to the abandoned property, said that the backyard of the property still needs major clean up.

He pointed to the tall weeds and discarded household items like a mattress and part of basketball hoop, all visible from his rear yard.

He and his family are having issues with the yard because it is attracting mosquitoes and rodents, said Valentin.

Getting private property cleaned by the NYC Sanitation Department is often a difficult issue, said Signorile, who added that calls have been made to DSNY about the property.

“People go there and dump,” said Signorile. “Sanitation was made aware of (the situation).”

Clean ups of this kind are often difficult because the agencies have to track down the owners first and then there are also department policies that have to be followed, said Signorile.

Signorile suggests that neighbors continue to reach out to elected officials, and to Community Board 11.

Torres said he believes that abandoned properties like 1932 Wallace Avenue are the ‘scar tissue’ left from the financial crisis of several years ago.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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