A beloved historic preservationist who was almost decapitated by a guillotine of glass that fell from a decrepit Seventh Avenue building, has won a small victory over the tenement’s owner.
Pat Maliha won $2,750 in Brooklyn Small Claims Court last month to cover damages to her Mazda Miata, whose roof was sliced open by a sheet of glass that fell from the vacant building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Second Street in March.
The money didn’t even cover the repairs — and it certainly didn’t wipe away the memories.
“I nearly died that day,” said Maliha, who was not in the car when the 36-inch shard fell.
Although the owner was held responsible for the damages, Maliha is more concerned about the city’s role in ensuring street-level safety
For years before a chunk of glass slit through her car, there were numerous other complaints about falling debris at 187 Seventh Ave., the former home of the quirky and much-missed Landmark Pub.
“It’s infuriating that the owner was allowed to get away with this. No one is forcing her to do anything,” said Maliha, former chairwoman of Citizens for the Preservation of Windsor Terrace.
“Two agencies have let go of their responsibility to keep the public safe on the sidewalk — the departments of Buildings, and Housing Preservation and Development.”
But a Buildings spokeswoman said the agency has taken steps to safeguard the site.
“We must give the owner opportunity to take care of the building,” she said. “The city can step in and do emergency repair work if the owner fails to do so.”
In fact, HPD has done emergency repairs twice this year. In March, before Maliha’s accident, the agency installed a sidewalk shed, but the structure failed to catch the glass that hit Maliha’s car later in the month.
HPD was back on the site in August to seal openings on the lower floors and to remove windowpanes from the upper levels, but on a recent visit to the site, windows were still in some of the top floors.
The building’s notoriously reclusive owner, Dorothy Nash, could not be reached for comment.
She had been represented in Small Claims Court by her insurance company’s lawyer, who also did not want to comment for this story.