Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Bronx Block, Riddled With Violations, Likely Most Neglected in City This Winter
Monday, April 11, 2011
Last winter was the third snowiest on record, and the city doled out more than 4,500 tickets for snow and ice violations. But a tree-lined residential strip in the Bronx can likely claim the dubious distinction of being the most neglected block in New York City.
An analysis of city data by WNYC shows home owners on this block of two- and three-story homes on Freeman Street — between Union and Prospect avenues — tallied an astonishing 41 violations for failure to clear snow from the sidewalk. A single boarded-up building alone received 20 tickets over the course of the winter.
Lisa Calix, who lives in the neighborhood, said she avoided the ice-slicked sidewalk on Freeman Street, which is the route she takes to her daughter's school.
"I was walking in the street because I was so scared that I was gonna fall," Calix said.
Residents said most homeowners took care of their properties, but a cluster of new, multi-family buildings have fallen into disrepair after the owners fell victim to foreclosure. Violation notices for various infractions were pasted to the doors of 794, 796, 798, and 800 Freeman Street - all buildings that were foreclosed in the last several years.
"It's no maintenance man, it's no owner, it's nothing," said Mac, who lives in one of the buildings and only provided his first name.
He said he hasn't paid rent there in over a year, and there's no hot water. No surprise, then, that the sidewalk wasn't shoveled.
"I think the Sanitation [Department] made this building a part of their training route for training new employees how to put tickets on the building," Mac said, "because they know they gonna guarantee a ticket over here."
While blizzards typically dump snow fairly evenly across the city, tickets for failing to clear snow and ice are spread unevenly.
In addition to Freeman Street, there are pockets of violation notices in parts of Jamaica, Queens, in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and in St. George, Staten Island. More than 1/3 of all tickets were handed out in the Bronx. But Ritter Place, one block north of Freeman Street, had no violation notices.
Manhattan, where apartment buildings predominate, had only 1 percent of the violations.
The majority of violation notices were issued by the Department of Sanitation, with a smaller number handed out by the Police Department and the Seagate Police force, which patrols the west end of Coney Island.
Fines for failure to clear snow and ice start at $150, and are handed down by the Environmental Control Board.