Who Killed Joy Noel?

Ms. Joy Noel after a hearing at the Housing Court, fall of 2017. Photo by Aga Troyniak.

FLATBUSH – Joy Pearl Noel, 85, died on January 31st at a nursing home in Brighton Beach.

Ms. Noel, a beloved resident of East 21st Street, died homeless. In fact, her friends and neighbors say, she died because someone took her home. She had been wrongfully evicted from her apartment of over 20 years only 5 months previously.  Her only wish during these last months was to be returned to her apartment. She had done nothing wrong.

Till the very end, she could not comprehend what happened.

“How did I become a bum,” she kept asking, half to us, half to herself, in a recent call with BKLYNER.

The most obvious person to blame for Ms. Noel’s death is her landlord, Isaac Jacobowitz of Carnegie Management. Jacobowitz, who owns close to two dozen properties according to city records, had been harassing her in and out of court to get her to move since he acquired the building in 2007. He finally succeeded in getting a default judgment by filing a case while she was out of the country last summer. The court filing misspelled her name and address, and she was never notified of the eviction case against her. When she returned, her belongings were in a storage unit and her apartment rented to a new tenant.

We reported on a rally back in November to get Ms. Noel back into her apartment, of a number of postponements in housing court hearings – the landlord promising to get Ms. Noel an apartment and failing to do so over and over (while advertising apartments for rent in the very building, including getting a new tenant to replace the one that first rented Ms. Noel’s old apartment).

Ms. Noel initially was able to attend court hearings, but as the stress took its toll and her health deteriorated, she was represented by her Brooklyn Legal Services lawyer Jonathan Twersky and community of neighbors from FlatbushTenant Coalition, who support tenants across greater Flatbush area.  Not once was the court postponed due to her not being able to make it.

What is doubly galling is that Mr. Jacobowitz also runs a charity – called Isaac Jacobowitz Foundation, which according to the statement made on the forms 990 filed with IRS, has the only listed charitable activity as “To assist ill, elderly and disabled persons with medical and other living expenses as well as to give guidance to these persons as to managing their medical care and living expenses”. It has had a tax exempt status since 2003.

The Foundation has no website, and according to forms 990 filed with IRS does not accept applications for aid, despite its rather sizeable budget of over $500,000 (2015 filing). It is unclear who the money, if any, is disbursed to.

In this case – this was no charity.

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Liena Zagare

Editor of Bklyner.com. Tips? Complaints? Suggestions? Email me at Liena@bklyner.com.


  1. What a sad end to an infuriating story. Rest in peace, Ms. Noel. Thank you for your reporting, Bklyner.

  2. Thank you for sharing this!! The story of Ms. Noel is heartbreaking… What has been the rallying cry for her case is that this could happen to any of us at any moment! No one is safe from these disgusting, predatory landlords. For everyone saying “I wish this hadn’t happened to this sweet old lady”, you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. Work with your local tenant coalition, hold your elected officials accountable. That’s the only way to make sure it doesn’t happen to you too.

  3. This is really sad. I wonder how many Ms. Noels are out there. Who throws a 85y o woman out in the street? People have no shame and forget. KARMA Everyone will be old one day.

  4. Patricia Sumner to answer your question but they do not live in NYC. Miss Noel wanted to stay in her own home in peace.
    Alex, Thanks for giving a ‘shout out” for Flatbush Tenant Coalition. The next meeting is 2/10/2018, 9:45 am at Baptist Church of the Redeemer, 1921 Cortelyou Road.

  5. Ms Noel eviction sounds illegal. How in the world was the notice sent to the wrong tenant name and address but got a judgment to evict her from her correct home address?

    The Marshalls got the right location though huh? (sarcasm)

    This landlord is a criminal.

  6. This touches my soul. We have to do more in a timely fashion. My condolences to her. I’ve seen her before.

  7. This article seems to be very misleading, or has a hidden agenda.

    how do u explain these 2 comments

    “Ms. Noel initially was able to attend court hearings”
    “she was never notified of the eviction case against her.

    if she went to court she knew about the case!!!!!

  8. Reread the article carefully. She didn’t get the notices so was removed . After that happened she found out about it and tried to have it corrected.

  9. I am a neighbor familiar with situation. The apt. was cluttered and in a very hazardous condition so much so that Section 8 suspended her subsidies. In addition she did not pay rent for 5 years. She actually was placed in a very comfortable old age home and was not homeless

  10. Please do a follow up on this scummy “charity”. That tax money sounds fraudulently aquired.

  11. Mitch Mitch- it’s infuriating when individuals can’t read what is written and then go off on a tangent that is totally off the wall. Read what is written.
    Yes, there was a problem- the victim was being evicted illegally. To me more importantly is what type of person evicted an 85 year old woman who has lived in the same place for 20 years?

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