The sign written in black capital letters on white paper reading CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC has been stuck to one of the windows of the former Belmont Steaks bar/restaurant in Glendale since it shut down more than five years ago.
While the last human patron left there long ago, a different kind of visitor started making itself visible this week: horseflies. Dozens of them could be seen stuck between the glass and plywood covering the windows; one fly was spotted crawling across the paper sign when QNS stood outside the dilapidated eatery on Oct. 5.
For years, Belmont Steaks has been rotting away along Myrtle Avenue, a victim of neglect and inactivity. The green-and-white striped awning hangs off the roof in tatters. One of the three spires on the roof is askew, its white paint visibly weather-beaten and chipped. (The spires of the horse racing-themed restaurant — its name being a play on words for the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown — were meant to evoke the twin spires of Churchill Downs.)
Plywood panels abut the windows and doors from the inside to keep trespassers out. However, it hasn’t stopped the flies from getting in.
Passersby started noticing the flies and took to social media to complain. One resident took to the Glendale Civic Association’s Facebook page to share a photo of the flies sandwiched between the windows and plywood.
“I live around the corner from it and was passing by 2 days ago and it’s infested with flies. It’s pretty disgusting,” one resident wrote. “The pic doesn’t reflect how bad it is.”
Without any perishable food inside the restaurant considering that it’s been closed for so many years, others speculated that the shuttered eatery is infested with either vermin or other wildlife.
The post got the attention of Councilman Robert Holden. A spokesperson for his office told QNS that his office is looking into the matter. Community Board 5 was also made aware of the conditions and has filed a formal complaint with the city’s Health Department, according to Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.
A Health Department spokesperson told QNS it was looking into the matter and would follow up.
Despite the restaurant’s dilapidated conditions, few complaints have been filed with the city’s Department of Buildings. A review of the DOB’s online database found that the most recent complaint was received in January 2015. An anonymous caller claimed that the abandoned building was improperly secured, but a DOB inspector visited the site and observed no such condition; as a result, no violation was issued.
Four active DOB violations exist on the property, the database noted. One has been issued each year between 2015 and 2018 for failure to file a boiler inspection report.
The Department of Finance’s ACRIS record system found that the former Belmont Steaks property was sold in April 2016 by the estate of Walter Konaichuk to the A. Trinchese Myrtle LLC holding company, based in Ozone Park, for $885,000. According to the New York Department of State, the holding company was formed less than two months before it closed on the sale.
A. Trinchese Myrtle LLC shares an address with Trinchese Iron Works and Construction. QNS reached out to the company and to its owner, Aniello Trinchese, for comment about the situation.
When contacting Trinchese through his cellphone, QNS was directed to a voicemail recording which indicated no new messages were being accepted because the mailbox was full.