One of the great things about Middle Village and Maspeth is the pride that most homeowners have in the appearance of their homes and property and that is why our neighborhood has strong community involvement on so many levels. However in the 1980s and 90s the real estate boom brought in many absentee landlords and real estate investors, some of whom were only interested in profits and the bottom line. As a result there are several properties with owners just holding waiting for the right time to build on or sell their property.

At the May 3, 2012 Juniper Park Civic Association town meeting, the neighborhood gave an earful to representatives of the Department of Buildings (DOB). They demanded action by the City to get several properties deemed “chronic eyesores” cleaned up.

Apparently, the Department of Buildings, through Queens Community Affairs liaison, Kenneth Lazar, listened. DOB sent inspectors to the chronic eyesore locations and handed out summonses. However just giving summonses to the owners is not enough since many ignore them. For instance the owner of 58-22 84th Street has ignored court appearances for almost 10 years while illegally parking trucks on his property for all of that time. A few years ago he purchased another property in our community, 57-65 75th Street and is now doing the very same thing to that property, parking graffiti covered box trucks. He recently was issued a $4,000 summons on his new 75th Street property but again, did not show up in court.

The DOB has promised action, however there seems to be no way to make these owners comply other than fines. Our elected officials have not done enough to address this gap in enforcement and compliance.