Teamwork Shuts Drug-house
A Bayswater house with a history of safety issues and criminal activity, was vacated Tuesday, due to the effort of several city agencies.
The house, located at 1122 McBride Street, is owned by Jay Best, of 382 Crown Street, Brooklyn. The yard of the property is strewn with junk cars, construction waste, torn mattresses, and glass bottles. Many of the first floor windows are broken or boarded up. Inside—more filthy and torn mattresses, litter everywhere, virtually no furniture, and a basement filled with deep, standing water. According to Community Board 14 President Jonathan Gaska, the basement also contained animal urine, and feces.
"Some of the problems we observed were a fire-damaged attic, raw sewage in the basement, broken windows, and no natural light or ventilation…six people were removed from the premises," said Department of Buildings (DOB) representative Sid Dinsay.
Meanwhile, Best, who works in the wholesale produce business, said he is happy the "squatters" have been removed from the house. He said he tried to evict them, and was physically threatened.
Best told The Wave he purchased the property in the late 90s, with the hope of housing recovering drug addicts. The recovery home worked for a while, he said, until the most responsible tenants "graduated back in to society." Those remaining in his house learned how to steal their benefit checks that were supposed to be used for rent, said Best.
Since 1998, Best has racked up numerous DOB violations on the property, totaling more than $50,000. In the last five years, at least seven no-compliance violations have been issued for construction and quality of life issues. According to DOB documents, one violation issued in February of 2000 states that the residence was illegally altered to make it a single room occupancy (SRO) dwelling. Less than $3,000 has been paid towards the fines, according to Dinsay.
The house was shuttered through a combined effort involving the New York City Police Department, the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) and Community Board 14.
Gaska said community complaints coupled with monitoring by NYPD’s 101 Precinct, and inspections by the DOB, lead to the speedy issuance of the vacate order for the property. Following the shutdown, Gaska thanked the 101’s Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lindahl and Officer Robert Badamo.
The city’s Health Department will also be involved shortly, if Best fails to take satisfactory corrective action, Gaska said.
On Wednesday, Best said he had begun boarding windows with one-inch plywood, in accordance with DOB requirements, and added that he may be interested in selling the property.