Following a tour of an apartment building at 2010 Newkirk Avenue, where a fire just left a family homeless, Councilman Mathieu Eugene has vowed to push the city Housing Preservation and Development to ensure that repairs are made far more quickly than has previously been done at the building that’s rife with problems.
The March 26 fire at 2010 Newkirk Avenue, which completely destroyed one apartment and damaged several others, followed more than a decade of complaints filed with the city about electrical problems in the building — which Public Advocate Letitia James in October named as one of the most mismanaged buildings in all of New York City. In addition to electrical issues, neighbors have, for years, filed complaints about numerous other issues at the building, including collapsed ceilings, mold, flooding, rodent and insect infestations, and more.
“The tenants at 2010 Newkirk Avenue have endured living conditions that are unacceptable and need to be fixed immediately,” Eugene, who toured the building last Thursday, told us. “I have visited tenants at the building on several occasions and have been working diligently in an effort to see that all necessary repairs are made there. While my efforts have resulted in some improvements to 2010 Newkirk Avenue, there is much work that remains to be done. For this reason, I have reached out to HPD requesting that they meet with the tenants and my office to expedite the critical repairs that still need to be made in the building.”
Aga Trojniak, of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, a group that’s been working to help neighbors address the litany of problems at the building, noted that the FTC has been receiving helpful updates from the Public Advocate’s office regarding work that HPD is doing in the building, but that tenants wanted a direct line of communication with HPD so they can provide information about what needs to be fixed and receive prompt attention to issues.
“The meeting with HPD will help everybody be on the same page,” said Patrick Janvier, one of the tenant leaders who is the contact person between 2010 Newkirk’s tenant association and Eugene’s office. “When HPD comes to do one thing, we want them to be able to see what else needs to be done.”
For example, Janvier not that problems stemming from a flood that occurred last year still haven’t been resolved — something which he hopes HPD will look at while also addressing the issues from the fire.
“The ceiling in my bathroom is almost falling in — all of my windows, when you pull them up they go straight back down. I have one broken window — I spent all winter with the window broken,” Janvier said.
“And the roof of the building has to be redone,” he continued. “It’s still broken from last year. If you walk into the fourth floor, every apartment you’ll smell mold from the ceiling because of last year’s flood.”
Numerous neighbors living in the same building have spoken of similar problems.
“I’ve been here going on six years, and there have pretty much been problems since I moved in,” Tasheema McNeil told us when the Public Advocate toured the building in October. “The ceiling collapsed almost a year ago, and he just patched it last week. Before that, there was just a hole. The kitchen floor is caving in. There’s a fire hazard with one of the electrical sockets that’s falling out of the wall. Plus, to deal with the water problems in the building, they made a hole in the ceiling of the basement, and now we have a rodent problem, mosquitos, flies.”
Piller’s company did not respond to a request for comment.