A good Samaritan — and complete stranger — has stepped up to aid an embattled, elderly Whitestone couple burdened with the charge of sidewalk repairs they say should not have been on their hands to begin with.
Judith Smith, 68, and her husband Everett, 71, were told by the city’s Department of Transportation in June to fix two concrete slabs, totaling 70 square feet of sidewalk, deemed broken and improperly sloped, according to a notice of violation issued by the agency.
But the furious pair said the defective squares are not their legal responsibility, pointing to their house deed as proof. The slabs, instead, are connected to an adjacent community driveway, jointly owned by the 22 homeowners on the street, they said.
The 14-foot driveway — or “right of way,” as described in the couple’s mortgage — leads up to a parking area filled with 22 separate garages and belongs to each of the homeowners along 147-23 Willets Point Boulevard.
The total cost of repair should be split between each of the homeowners, the Smiths said, but since their home is planted directly next to the easement — located in the middle of the residential street — the charge for repairs and role of the lot’s sole caretaker involuntarily had come barreling down on them.
According to the city’s repair guideline prices, the landowners of 30 years, who rely on retirement income, could have found themselves shelling out close to $700.
But after The Courier first reported the couple’s grievance in a detailed August 30 cover story, the Smiths were then reached out to by a major television network. Their troubles were broadcast at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 4, and within 30 minutes, the Smiths said they received a phone call from a private cement company contractor who wanted to help them out for free.
“I’m thrilled. I couldn’t be happier. I’m really indebted to them,” Judith said. “He’s taken the liberty to dip into his own pockets to repair two flags that I should really sue the neighbors for. I’m forever grateful to him.”
The couple’s hero, who they have yet to meet, wanted to remain anonymous.