Ridgewood Church besieged by trash due to landlord neglect: Violations could cost thousands

Significant concerns over a negligent neighbor who has been leaving piles of trash behind their building, adjacent to the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, have gone unresolved
Photo by Anthony Medina

Concerns are mounting among neighbors, parishioners and Community Board 5 leadership due to a neighbor’s neglectful habit of leaving piles of trash behind their building, adjacent to the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, since last year.

Neighbors say the sudden appearance of party lights and loud music erupting from the site of the former Capital One Bank, located at 70-01 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood, also brought an unruly amount of trash bags and empty cardboard boxes.

Dan DeBrucker, one of the pastors at the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church first shared his concerns with the board in December 2023 — mentioning the appearance of loud music, broken bottles and piles of garbage next to the house of prayer.

DeBrucker says he doesn’t mind the addition of a nightlife spot next to the church, but the lack of consideration for the neighborhood has turned into blatant disrespect.

“I get summoned by the city because we have rats running across my property. $5,000 later in new sidewalks, I still have rats running across my property, but they have garbage that’s dumped in the backyard that’s full of trash from the parties that they’re holding,” DeBrucker shared.

Ridgewood Presbyterian Church serves as the site for many community civic groups and entertainment events. The location of the Stone Circle Theatre, a performance art collective with sold-out shows in Ridgewood, also uses the church location for their plays.

When the Ridgewood Times visited the site earlier this month, garbage on the side of 70th Avenue and the back of the building was still piled against the shared fence facing the Ridgewood Church.

Piles of trash were found laying next to the fence facing the Ridgewood Church. Photo by Anthony Medina

An existing long-term issue with rats in the area remains promenade, especially as several residents brought up the location as a problematic rodent spot when the neighborhood was visited by the NYC Rat Czar.

A sighting of a rodent scurrying across a nearby street and digging itself into a rat hole beneath a tree also occurred — a common site for many Ridgewood natives.

Since Debrucker presented the issue to Community Board 5, District Manager Gary Giordano and fellow board members have intervened in the neighbor conflict. Giordano says he has yet to hear back from the building’s landlord on the garbage problem.

“Some landlords really look to do the wrong thing for their profit. What they’ve done next to the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church is a disgrace in my opinion,” said Giordano, sharing his findings at this month’s board meeting.

The community board has reached out to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Buildings to investigate the building. Giordano says the business currently operating out of the building doesn’t have the proper Certificate of Occupancy to operate the site.

Department of Buildings records show three open violations from the Department of Buildings and four open OATH/EBC “Work Without Permit Violations,” at the 70-01 Forest Avenue building.

Each of the OATH violations dates back to April 2023 and the total penalties equals $33,000, according to details from the DOB. Major structural changes made to the basement level and throughout the building without a permit are detailed in the DOB inspection blurb.

The owner of the building, according to DOB records, is Afshin Hedvat. He is identified as the principal of Prime Rok Real Estate. QNS sent an inquiry to Hedvat regarding the building and garbage situation and is now awaiting a response

The business occupying the space on the top level of the building is called Dreams NYC, an event venue with locations in Corona, Sunset Park, the Bronx, and the latest addition in Ridgewood.

QNS has made an attempt to contact Dreams NYC for comment and clarification regarding the situation and is currently awaiting a response.