‘Courts’ and appeals • Brooklyn Paper

‘Courts’ and appeals

Back to work: Build It Back plans to fix the sewers and raise the homes in a private section of Sheepshead Bay known as the “courts.”

It’s the ghost town of Sheepshead Bay.

Homeowners have for years been abandoning many of the bungalows within Sheepshead Bay’s Sandy-swept “Courts” — a corpse of a sub-neighborhood five feet below street-level off Emmons Avenue between E. 29th Street and Batchelder Street — and now one of its hold-outs is finally ready to give up on an area he once considered a paradise, but now says is something much less.

“It still looks like a war zone,” said Jimmy Schneider of Mesereau Courtt, whose lived in Sheepshead Bay for 40 year and has now put his home on the market. “It’s a shame, I’ve lived here my whole life.”

Rampant with cats making their homes under piles of garbage and construction, the houses within the Courts — many built back when Sheepshead Bay was a sleepy beach and fishermen’s town — have been left to rot since the superstorm blew threw, and with no street lights to brighten up the area at night, the neighborhood has become a feeding ground for drugs, according to Schneider.

“With all the drug-dealing going on — I’m not going to put my family at risk,” he said. “Look how they’re dumping garbage in all these houses. Nobody does nothing.”

And the government hasn’t done enough to help through its controversial Build It Back program, said Schneider.

A spokesman from the city-run, federally funded Build It Back claimed that up to 77 homes in Sheepshead Bay’s Courts could be raised through the program, but more than three years after the storm, fewer than 10 homes are raised or in the process, a survey of the neighborhood showed.

But many residents — like the Schneiders — have chosen to just leave, abandoning their homes now boarded up with wood and peppered with mold.

Schneider said he raised his family in the Courts and hates to leave, but claims it’s just not worth it to stay.

“I can’t believe how they just forgot about us,” Schneider said. “Everybody just forgot about our neighborhood. It breaks my heart to leave, but I can’t stay like a prisoner in my own house.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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