2007-07-20 / Letters

First Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

As a resident of Rockaway for the past 23 years, it saddens me that I have been compelled to write my first letter to the editor.

I have lived on Beach 119 Street for the past eight years with my family and have for the most part enjoyed our time on the block. While it may not be the most picturesque of blocks due to some questionable decisions by absentee landlords, it has provided my family with a nice place to live, with the benefit of many good neighbors. Which brings me to my current dilemma: the house next door to me has been owned by one of those absentee landlords who I never met. That being said, the house and its numerous tenants were evicted amidst rumors of its imminent demolition and construction of an apartment building in its place. That was over a year ago, and still no pro - gress. Unless you define progress as the overgrowth of vegetation, piles of construction debris resulting from a halfhearted attempt at renovating the building, or the development of the front of the property as a hangout for residents of the local adult care facility to smoke, or sometimes even sneak a beer or two. These are all things that have bothered me in the past but being that I had no contact with the past owner, I learned to put up with.

Imagine my surprise last week while reading the Esha Realty ad in your publication, when I saw the eyesore that I write of, for sale with an asking price of 1.39 million dollars.

My initial excitement of living next door to a potential million dollar property and the dollars it would surely add to the equity of my home was quickly tempered by the reality that I live next to an eyesore that is a possible health hazard, an attraction for vermin, or even worse, squatters.

My short-lived excitement then turned to optimism as I copied the phone number from the Esha Realty sign prominently displayed on the property and assumed that now I had someone that I could voice these concerns to and hopefully have them addressed. In my naiveté, I assumed that a company new to the area such as Esha Realty would be happy to hear feedback from the neighborhood which their business is supposed to serve.

My silly idea that an upstart company like Esha Realty would want to try and foster a positive relationship with the community in which they are trying to operate was quickly dispelled after my brief phone conversation with Jenny Melendez Associate Broker/Co-Owner/Office Manager. After introducing myself and explaining my concerns to Ms. Melendez, she promptly told me that the house is going to be demolished and architects are working on plans as we speak. Being that my home is directly next to the property, I obviously am very interested in what will happen it. I then asked her what plans they had for the property and she told me that they would not disclose this information. Understanding that I have no legal right to know what their plans are, I simply asked if they would do anything to address my concerns about the current state of the property. At this time, Melendez stated that all of the conditions I described to her are within the fence line of the property and should be no concern of mine. As I attempted to discuss this notion that if it's within the fence line it's none of my business, Melendez summarily dismissed my call by stating "Thank you for your concern" and proceeded to hang up on me. I immediately called back and requested to speak with Ms. Melendez in hopes of finishing our conversation and was told that she was unavailable. I left a contact number at which she could call me back and requested a call back. No surprise to me, I am still waiting for that call.

Believe me when I tell you that this is my first letter of this kind and I am deeply disturbed by the possibility that I have become "'That Guy" who writes a letter every time I get a bad haircut or McDonald's messes up my order. What really disturbs me more than the discourteous manner with which I was treated is the Carpet - bagger mentality of some of these businesses (i.e. Esha Realty) that view Rockaway as a cash cow instead of the community in which we live. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns.

ROBERT QUIGLEY

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