An abandoned, dilapidated home on 79th Street has left a neighboring family vexed for more than a decade — but years of inaction from the city and the landowner have broken the final straw.
The Gouras family has been complaining about the run-down mess between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard since 2007. At first, it was simply an uneven pile of soggy wood and caved-in roof that served as an eyesore for the swank block — three years later, it’s become a breeding ground for looters, raccoons and mosquitoes.
“There’s an unnatural mosquito problem — recently, I lost it and started taking pics for our Facebook page,” said Antigoni Gouras-Manzi, the second generation of neighbors who have urged the city to do something about the dangerous mess. “It could be 9 am and I’ll be overwhelmed by bites.”
Worse, water leaking through the roof of the structure has seeped into the basement and caused damage to the Gourases’ foundation — but they said that the Departments of Buildings and Sanitation merely write citations and nothing ever changes.
The debacle began in the mid-1990s, when the building’s owner, Frank Landy, and his wife divorced. At the time, he allegedly told the Gouras family that he could not sell the house because he did not want his soon-to-be-ex-wife getting half.
“I’m pretty sure that a couple years ago, they could’ve made a small fortune off that house,” said Antogoni’s brother, Spiro. “We don’t know why he left it like this.”
Mysteriously, they haven’t heard from the antique-collecting Landy family since Frank died a few years back. Holes in the roof offer views of century-old cabinets, a bathtub, and standing water. The front windows are smeared with concrete, and only a rickety fence separates the sidewalk from bushes and a water-damaged house front.
Needless to say, the Gouras family is at a loss for answers. Local elected officials said on Friday that they’re back on the case to get the building re-inspected, but since the Landy family has no outstanding violations with the city, officials aren’t sure what else can be done.
“On a block full of conscientious homeowners, the Landy family’s negligence is setting everyone else up to suffer,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge). “We’ll make him aware, one way or another, that he’s got no choice but to fix the problems his neighbors live with every day. They put all this energy into building a life and a home on 79th Street, only to wake up every morning next to this nightmarish property.”