Long-abandoned Flushing house continues to cause problems for neighbors

Photo courtesy of Avella’s office

Flushing locals are still waiting on the city to take action as a now-crumbling residence continues to impact their quality of life.

In November 2016, next-door neighbor Joe Vitulli approached QNS about the problematic property at 35-20 167th St. Over a year later, the residence still stands and issues have multiplied.

“Not only is this an eyesore, it has become much more than that. It is a quality-of-life issue for this neighborhood,” Vitulli said at a press conference organized by state Senator Tony Avella on Jan. 26.

The Flushing home has been abandoned for more than 25 years. The owner, who owns another property in the area, is rarely seen at the site, residents said.

According to Vitulli, who has lived in Flushing for more than 40 years, the abandoned building continues to attract teenagers and homeless individuals, including some who smoke and drink on the property, both day and night.

In addition, the back portion of the property recently collapsed, opening up a new set of concerns.

Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/The residence in 2016, pre-collapse
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/The residence in 2016, pre-collapse

“In my opinion, the Department of Buildings has enough authority to declare this an unsafe building and level it,” Avella said. “At least then you’d have a vacant lot which can be fenced in instead of this eyesore.”

A DOB spokesperson said the city agency only has the legal authority to issue an emergency declaration to demolish a building when the building poses an “immediate danger to the public.” During the agency’s most recent inspection of the property earlier this month, DOB officials observed the partial collapse.

In response, the DOB issued an emergency declaration for the demolition of the partially collapsed rear addition on Jan. 25.

“The declaration also ordered that the building be sealed following the demolition, to prevent any access into the building by trespassers,” the spokesperson said.

Residents were informed about the partial demolition by DOB officials shortly before the press conference. For neighbors, the city agency is still not doing enough.

“Something is going to happen and then these authorities who are not doing anything about it now before something serious happens will have questions to answer,” Vitulli said. “We shouldn’t have to live like this.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also plan on performing another inspection at the site soon, according to Avella’s office.