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Stump, damaged sidewalk prevents Bay Ridge family from backing out of driveway

Stump from Sandy-toppled tree blocks end of Ridge family’s driveway

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Try getting to the root of this problem!

A upended tree stump has kept a Bay Ridge family’s vehicle trapped in its driveway for more than a month — and the city says it won’t be removing the obstacle anytime soon.

Yanina and Eugene Krubitski say Hurricane Sandy toppled an enormous sycamore outside of their 80th Street home between Fourth and Fifth avenues last month, ripping up the tree’s roots and the concrete slabs surrounding the arbor in the process.

Within a few days the Parks Department came in and carted off the tree in chunks, but the ripped-up stump — which now blocks Krubitskis’ driveway — was left behind.

Parks workers promised to return to fix the walkway, but never showed up. After repeated phone calls, officials from the Central Forestry division in Manhattan told her that they wouldn’t get around to pulling out the stump — and freeing her sports utility vehicle — until the spring. Yet it remained unclear who would fix the ripped-up concrete slabs: every agency she called told her to contact another.

“I feel like a ping-pong ball,” said Krubitski, who said that in the middle of the post-Sandy fuel crisis she had a full tank of gas, but was unable to use it. “Everyone just bounces me around, and nobody could give me a time frame for when my driveway would get fixed.”

She finally learned that the city’s Department of Design and Construction were responsible for fixing sidewalks, but officials tried to laugh off her plight.

“He tried to make it funny. I told him, ‘It may be funny to you, but it’s not in the middle of your driveway, and you can’t get out,’ ” Krubitski said, adding that Community Board 10 has lobbied on her behalf, but was told that her ripped-up sidewalk was a non-emergency and wouldn’t get priority treatment.

The beleaguered Ridgite said she considered paying a private contractor to pull the stump taken out, but even they can’t help her: the contractors she contacted said they had a backlog of hurricane-related jobs and wouldn’t be able to help her for several weeks.

Without a car, Krubitski and her family have been using trains and buses — which are sparse in car-heavy Bay Ridge — to get to work and to bring her daughter, a nationally competing gymnast, to practice at Aviator Sports and Events Center in Mill Basin.

The family borrowed a vehicle from a friend, but — without access to their driveway — must navigate Bay Ridge’s parking-starved streets, and will have to return the car soon.

“I’m frustrated and exhausted,” Krubitski said. “You don’t even know who to call and what the answers will be. Everybody tells you to call 311, but I called 311, and it’s a dead end.”

A spokesman from the Department of Design and Construction told us that his agency has 2,500 sidewalk repairs on its list. Currently, the agency is focusing on fixing pavements outside schools, hospitals, and police stations.

“We’re working as fast as we can,” said city representative Craig Chin, who promises that the department should get through the list by the end of the winter — weather permitting.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

Updated 12:49 pm, December 5, 2012: Story was updated with new information about Yanina Krubitski's plight.
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Reader Feedback

Dave from Park Slope says:
Have they ever heard of a saw? These folks are going to be among the first to be eaten in the coming apocalypse.
Dec. 5, 2012, 7:38 am
Bob from NYC says:
Is it the driveway, or the sidewalk? The article flip-flops between the two. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that driveway maintenance would be the homeowner's responsibility.
Dec. 5, 2012, 9:20 am
T from NYC says:
There are still people in the Rockaways without heat or hot water. Some people don't even have homes. Call a private tree removal service if you want to get your private vehicle out of your private driveway so badly.
Dec. 5, 2012, 9:43 am
Tom from sunset park says:
Hopefully someone in the nabe with a chainsaw and ability to use it will read this and drop by to make the the driveway accessible.

Lesson for NYC before next disaster: 1. Mobility is essential after the storm so fill that tank and park away from trees bigger than your car. 2. When you evacuate the floodplain take the car with you.
Dec. 5, 2012, 10:51 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that driveway maintenance would be the homeowner's responsibility."

Actually SIDEWALK maintenance is the homeowner's responsibility in NYC. In addition to the taxes they pay, homeowners are required to pay themselves maintain a piece of public infrastructure for people who matter less -- pedestrians. The person they hire to do the job even has to get a city permit that costs a fee.

Meanwhile, the city maintains the streets for moving and parked motor vehicles. Using general taxes everyone pays -- those motor vehicle-related taxes and tolls are mostly for federal and state highways. And the city will probably eventually repair the driveway, since it was damaged by the city's tree.
Dec. 5, 2012, 11:37 am
Grandmaster Flush from New Utrecht says:
Boo Hoo. Remove it yourself, hire a private company to do the work, or stop complaining. All of us who pay taxes in this city don't want them wasted on cleaning up your private driveway.
Dec. 5, 2012, 11:39 am
frank from furter. says:
You remove enough of the tree to back out and then you park on the street in front of your driveway until the city comes and fixes it. When the problem is caused by a city tree they will come and fix it....eventually...
Dec. 5, 2012, 11:51 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me, but in my opinion, this vehicle does not look like it is trapped at all. May I suggest that these people are simply being difficult? I'm sorry to interrupt.
Dec. 5, 2012, 12:55 pm
Ahab from Bay Rij says:
Why is this an article?
Dec. 5, 2012, 1:38 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Mayor for Life Mike wants to plant a million trees.

How many leaves are on a million trees, and will they get in the storm drains?

Since people were killed by falling trees during Sandy, shouldn't he rethink this tree thing?
Dec. 5, 2012, 3:51 pm
ty from pps says:
Or -- You are a total tool. You're right. Cut down all of the trees in the city... they *could* fall. What good could a tree do? Right?
Dec. 5, 2012, 5:38 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I do see the benefits of cutting all of these trees down. For example: There would be a lot of firewood, and wood to build strucures such as boardwalks and homes with, among many other things. Having said that, it would then make perfect sense to plant new ones in their stead. This way, everyone wins. Pardon my interruption, by the way.
Dec. 5, 2012, 5:57 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Trains and buses are sparse in Bay Ridge? Since when? Train on Fourth Avenue, buses on Fifth Avenue, Third Avenue (south of 69th St.), 86th St and 75th St. Those are just the ones near this woman.

Dec. 7, 2012, 8:01 am
ingrid from dyker heights! says:
are you kidding me lady???? boohoo i cant my daughter to practice, you need to really check yourself and see how other people are still in dire straights due to the storm,no heat,noelectricity,no home,no more personal belongings,loss of family members etc!!

you should be ashamed of yourself,go cross your arms in front of volunteer station and ask why alot of people arent getting the reaaallllllll help they need.

god people like this really get me mad-_-
Dec. 7, 2012, 10:45 am
ty from pps says:
Has this whiney woman thought about doing anything herself? Would it really be that hard to get a hatchet and a spade from the hardware store and trim back the roots ball so she can get her precious car out of the driveway?

I know, I know. That would require manual labor and a less sour outlook on life. It's really terrible... oh how she suffers.
Dec. 7, 2012, 12:15 pm
mike from GP says:
Seems like a bicycle would help tremendously in this situation.
Dec. 7, 2012, 3:47 pm

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