Neighbors Win Fight to Have a Towering Eyesore Demolished

The owner of a house in Homecrest, Brooklyn, requested permission from the city to make “a horizontal and vertical enlargement to an existing two-story, one-family residence.”

More than eight years later, what began as a humble brick bungalow, perching modestly between its low-slung brick and wood neighbors, has swollen into a five-story skeletal tower that looms over the street and smothers the collapsed bungalow below. It is half-finished, with a rib cage of metal beams exposed beneath temporary white cladding and gaping windows punched out in front, but it looks instead as though it had been half-demolished by an errant torpedo.

In the words of one neighbor: “It’s the ugliest thing I ever saw. Who in the world builds a house like that?”

The city said this week that a lawyer for the owner, Joseph Durzieh, had, at long last, agreed to accept the Buildings Department’s demands that the structure be demolished. But neighbors remain skeptical that the scourge of their quiet block will finally meet the wrecking ball.

Over the past decade, those neighbors have endured the mice that scurried into their kitchens. The raccoons rummaging through the garbage. The stray cats colonizing the front yard-turned-junkyard. The flies.

But most maddening of all, the neighbors said, was the seeming inability of any authority — despite years of complaints, departmental audits and a stop-work order — to rid them of the eyesore that is 1882 East 12th Street.

Full article in the New York Times (1 May 2014)