Southern Brooklyn

The BSA Hates Us; How Do We Stop It?

Abraham Travitsky lives next door to Joseph Durzieh's home, which he’s renovating to the dismay of his Homecrest neighbors.

I’d say “There goes the neighborhood,” but the neighborhood came and went so many times that I’m beginning to suspect it’s a well-heeled prostitute.

Neighbors on a Homecrest block are outraged over what they call a hulking eyesore rising in their midst.

City officials decided last week to let owner Joseph Durzieh go ahead with a 53-foot-tall house that towers over other homes on the E. 18th St. [sic – It’s East 12th Street] block – and gets so close to a house next door it blocks the windows.

“It’s a monstrosity,” said lawyer Stu Klein, who is representing neighbors on both sides of the building challenging the project.

… The project would be illegal under current zoning, but the city Board of Standards and Appeals voted last week to let the owner go ahead because he started work before zoning rules changed to bar buildings so high.

Why does the Board of Standards and Appeals continue to vote against the wishes of the community? What do its members have to gain from scorning – so routinely and so callously – the residents of the neighborhoods it shapes?

While agencies like the DOT and the MTA are supreme examples of bureaucratic incompetence, the BSA is the paragon of institutional malice. It needs to go.

But back to the house…

Neighbors challenged the move, charging Durzieh’s permits were no good because he got permission to renovate an existing house – but actually tore down most of the house and put up a new building.

… Durzieh has maintained the three-story structure will be a single family home for his family.

But Theresa Scavo, chair of Community Board 15 – which voted overwhelmingly against the plan – suspects Durzieh really plans to turn it into condos, noting that plans include an elevator and an exterior staircase.

Durzieh and his contractors have also been fined $9,200 for construction violations on the site, according to DOB records. He did not return calls.

And so it goes. Another ugly condo on another block in which it doesn’t fit. And no, I’m not against condos or the area developing, I’m just against the stupid ones.

Comment policy


  1. It’s East 12th Street between Avenue R and Avenue S. Daily News left it out, but I was at the CB 15 where they voted on this. Don’t have the exact address on hand right now, though. I’ll look it up for you later if you want.

  2. I pass by this thing a lot, and its hideous. From what little I understand of building laws, as long as at least one wall of the old structure is standing, you’re allowed to do this (someone with more info please help). If you walk by, you can see the torn remnants of an old wall amidst all completely new architecture.

    And BTW, that whole ugly thing is standing a few tiny little stits, it looks so unstable…

  3. There is nothing wrong with the height of this building on this block. There is 5 apartment buildings along with medical and other professional offices here. Its interesting that the owner of the house to the north of this one didnt care much about the 6 story apartment building on the other side of him. This block is completely mixed with uses and heights not like you can compare this to say the Corbin pl. house. If the guy legitimately put in the foundation before the zoning change why are people bitching now a couple years later.

  4. It used to be that you had to keep 10% of the existing structure. I did a couple of new buildings by keeping 10% by reusing the basement walls, but this was back in the 1980s. I’m not sure what the requirements are today.

  5. well there you have it its been going on for a hundred years. I am usually very specific about what i say. I didnt say anything about design or layout or width i mentioned the height. Bottom line is this happens all over the city and people need to take into consideration whats around them when they buy a property. In they city one of things thats a huge selling point is views. How many times does another building pop up right next door and kill your views and a 1/4 of the value of your real estate. They should have said something a few years ago when this guy was putting in his foundation not when the structure is already up.

  6. A few years ago, there was a story about this happening to a house on 65th Street. I think the building blocked a woman’s only living room window. Don’t remember the outcome. Guess if your property line ends at the building line, there’s nothing you can do. But I thought it was illegal to have a room without a window in it. I wonder if the building without a window in the room is now in violation.

  7. Lot line windows are illegal in NYC. I have no sympathy for people who loose lot line windows.

    Go take a look at the blue condo building on Ocen between W and X. They built lot line windows and balconies that are now being covered up by the condo next door.

  8. mmmm, and they condumn building a house of worship,
    I hope Bay FOLKS will be formed to stop such disasters, not buildings with full rights and not going thru BSA, as I heard Muslims want to build a mosque and some local groups have been formed to stop it. HOW COMES NO GROUP FORMED TO STOP such building…???



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