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Bay Ridge’s crabbiest super is finally ready to take his yearlong war with his tenants outside.
Richard Martin, the 71-year-old superintendent at 278 91st St., recently ended his showdown against tenants who were careless about throwing out their garbage, and has agreed to drag the nine moldering trashcans from the lobby of the building back to their rightful spot outside.
“I don’t care anymore,” said Martin, who burst onto the public consciousness last year, after The Brooklyn Paper wrote a story about the hostile hand-written signs he posted on the building lambasting his tenants as “lazy” and “dangerous” for not properly putting out their trash.
“Tenants don’t care, landlord don’t care, Ritchie Martin don’t care.”
His sudden lack of concern is a stark contrast to back in November, when Martin’s notes — all featuring his black, green and red all caps scrawl — angrily told tenants what he expected: “Take covers off to put your garbage in and put covers back on. You tenants better stop being stupid and retarded.”
When tenants failed to respond to his colorful signs, Martin hauled the garbage up to the roof, forcing some tenants to hike as many as five floors to get rid of their trash.
“It’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline,” said one local resident of Martin’s antics.
And sure enough, the tenants continued to mix waste and recyclables.
Martin then brought out the big guns: He pulled the eight trashcans inside, forcing residents to live with piled up garbage in the lobby of their building.
It caused a stink — literally and figuratively.
“He’s a disaster,” said one tenant, “a walking menace.”
But some residents sympathize with Martin.
“People were not paying attention to what he wanted. What was he supposed to do?” said Dennis Lobaito.
Mark Libertini, manager of The Little Cupcake Bakeshop on the ground floor of the building, said the tenants go out of their way to rile up Martin.
“People who live here know how to organize their recyclables,” said Libertini. “They throw all of it into one pile to antagonize him.”
Martin said the landlord of the building lives in Syria and doesn’t seem to mind the occasional city fine for poorly separated trash. Nonetheless, Martin took on the responsibility of trash monitor out of civic duty, he said.
But now he’s so fed up that he’s willing to let the tenants run wild, he said.
“They could get a $1,000 fine every day and I wouldn’t care,” said Martin. “The owner pays.”
Despite Martin’s insistence that he doesn’t care, Libertini doubts it. “It’s like trying to change an old dog,” he said. “It’s going to keep being the same old crap.”
Indeed, Martin is already complaining that tenants are abusing their outdoor garbage privileges. And a new sign in the lobby blasted one tenant a “cheap bastard” because he allegedly stole Martin’s umbrella.
So the trashcans may be outside, but the trash talk is still a permanent fixture on 91st Street.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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