Slope woman left homeless by house collapse has been sleeping on her stoop: Neighbors

Slope woman left homeless by house collapse has been sleeping on her stoop: Neighbors
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The owner of a run-down Park Slope townhouse is sleeping on the building’s stoop several weeks after the interior collapsed and the city chained the front door shut, neighbors say.

Joan Turken has been crashing on the front steps of her landmarked First Street row house since the partial collapse on Aug. 2 left her homeless, according to neighbors who say that she and the house have seen better days.

“The whole situation is awful,” said First Street resident Julie Markes, who lives next door to Turken. “I feel sorry for Joan.”

Turken left the scene of the August cave-in wearing cuffs after a cop fell through a floor in the house and she refused to leave the wreckage, according to authorities and witnesses. Soon thereafter, the Department of Buildings declared the house between Seventh and Eighth avenues structurally unstable, citing rotted floor joists and a decaying roof.

Residents say that Turken, who has owned the vine-covered building since 1992, according to the Department of Finance, lives alone and has an open case with Adult Protective Services, a state agency serving physically and mentally impaired adults.

The situation shows no signs of improving any time soon, despite the apparent involvement of multiple state offices.

Adult Protective Services would not confirm whether Turken is a client, citing privacy concerns, but a spokeswoman said that in situations similar to this one the agency petitions to appoint a guardian, a process that can take up to a year, and the buildings department will not reopen the house until substantial repairs have been made, according to a spokesman.

A woman believed to be Turken was not interested in discussing the snowballing problems.

“It’s none of your f—— business,” the woman said when approached outside the house by a reporter for this paper.

The house has been decrepit for years and Turken was hit with a $2,500 fine in April for building code violations after this newspaper discovered more than 100 tin cans, buckets, and other containers on the roof of the building, a collection that had neighbors scared to walk down the street for fear of being hit with a flying pail.

Now, though, block residents say they are just hoping that Turken can get help.

“A lot of the neighbors are concerned,” said neighbor Anne Schotter. “It’s very sad.”

Block residents said they have been caring for Turken’s two cats that have been roaming around in residents’ backyards since the lockout.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Precarious: Joan Turken, who neighbors say is sleeping on her front steps now that the inside of her First Street townhouse has collapsed, was fined in April for this collection of hundreds of pails and buckets on the roof.
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie Musumeci