No ‘can’ do! Slopers worried about container-covered roof

No ‘can’ do! Slopers worried about container-covered roof
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie Musumeci

A rooftop collection of tin cans and buckets above a run-down Park Slope home is a hazard to passersby on the ground, worried neighbors claim.

The landmarked First Street rowhouse has been a trash-ridden eyesore for years, but only recently did neighbors get wind of the peculiar open-air stash after cans and other debris blew into their backyards.

“This is dangerous,” said next-door neighbor Rosemary Spano, who recently found her backyard and patio between Seventh and Eighth avenues littered with canisters. “I’m concerned that I’ll be walking by or my children will be walking by and we’ll get hit on the head.”

A reporter for this newspaper got access to a neighboring roof and saw a cluttered expanse completely covered with more than 100 large, rusted cans, empty planters, pails, crates, a laundry basket, a pet carrier, and other loose scraps, and a skylight with a missing a windowpane.

Neighbors say the owner of the more-than-century-old building — who did not respond to multiple attempted door-knockings — uses a long string and a bag dangling between the roof and the trash-strewn stoop as a crude pulley system to haul cans upward.

But it’s cans coming down that neighbors are worried about — especially with students from PS 321 running up and down the street each day.

“This is school block,” said Marla Kessler, who lives across the street. “Every kid walks up this block and anything that would potentially hurt someone is worrisome.”

Residents not only fear for their safety, but also the safety of the resident who has rightfully owned the vine-covered building since 1992, according to the Department of Finance.

“I have no idea what she uses (the cans) for,” said Spano, who worries the cluttered roof could make it hard for firefighters in the event of a blaze, and fears for the resident’s well-being. “If we understood why she has the cans up there then maybe that problem could be addressed.”

The resident, who lives in the building alone according to neighbors, has an open case with Adult Protective Services, which is a “state-mandated case management program that arranges for services and support for physically and/or mentally impaired adults who are at risk or harm.”

The dweller’s caseworker could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The house has no building violations, according to the Department of Buildings website, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has not received any complaints about the residence, said an agency spokeswoman.

The house, in its current condition, is something even the Landmark’s Preservation Commission has no control over.

“Improving the condition of the building wouldn’t fall under our jurisdiction because it doesn’t appear to be in danger of falling down or appear to be structurally damaged in any way,” said Landmarks spokeswoman Lisi De Bourbon. “We would only get involved when the structural integrity and architectural integrity is comprised or potentially threatened by neglect.”

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

House of cans: This Park Slope home on First Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues is full of more than 100 loose cans, bins, and pales holding standing water that neighbors say is a danger to people if a gust of wind rolls through.
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie Musumeci