Try getting to the root of this problem!
A upended tree stump has kept a Bay Ridge family’s vehicle trapped in its driveway for more than a month — and the city says it won’t be removing the obstacle anytime soon.
Yanina and Eugene Krubitski say Hurricane Sandy toppled an enormous sycamore outside of their 80th Street home between Fourth and Fifth avenues last month, ripping up the tree’s roots and the concrete slabs surrounding the arbor in the process.
Within a few days the Parks Department came in and carted off the tree in chunks, but the ripped-up stump — which now blocks Krubitskis’ driveway — was left behind.
Parks workers promised to return to fix the walkway, but never showed up. After repeated phone calls, officials from the Central Forestry division in Manhattan told her that they wouldn’t get around to pulling out the stump — and freeing her sports utility vehicle — until the spring. Yet it remained unclear who would fix the ripped-up concrete slabs: every agency she called told her to contact another.
“I feel like a ping-pong ball,” said Krubitski, who said that in the middle of the post-Sandy fuel crisis she had a full tank of gas, but was unable to use it. “Everyone just bounces me around, and nobody could give me a time frame for when my driveway would get fixed.”
She finally learned that the city’s Department of Design and Construction were responsible for fixing sidewalks, but officials tried to laugh off her plight.
“He tried to make it funny. I told him, ‘It may be funny to you, but it’s not in the middle of your driveway, and you can’t get out,’ ” Krubitski said, adding that Community Board 10 has lobbied on her behalf, but was told that her ripped-up sidewalk was a non-emergency and wouldn’t get priority treatment.
The beleaguered Ridgite said she considered paying a private contractor to pull the stump taken out, but even they can’t help her: the contractors she contacted said they had a backlog of hurricane-related jobs and wouldn’t be able to help her for several weeks.
Without a car, Krubitski and her family have been using trains and buses — which are sparse in car-heavy Bay Ridge — to get to work and to bring her daughter, a nationally competing gymnast, to practice at Aviator Sports and Events Center in Mill Basin.
The family borrowed a vehicle from a friend, but — without access to their driveway — must navigate Bay Ridge’s parking-starved streets, and will have to return the car soon.
“I’m frustrated and exhausted,” Krubitski said. “You don’t even know who to call and what the answers will be. Everybody tells you to call 311, but I called 311, and it’s a dead end.”
A spokesman from the Department of Design and Construction told us that his agency has 2,500 sidewalk repairs on its list. Currently, the agency is focusing on fixing pavements outside schools, hospitals, and police stations.
“We’re working as fast as we can,” said city representative Craig Chin, who promises that the department should get through the list by the end of the winter — weather permitting.