What can be done about people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions?
In the City of New York, there are a series of laws that dictate what homeowners and businesses alike are responsible for concerning their property.
Snow must be shoveled, sidewalks must be swept clean and garbage must be removed. Rules such as these not only address safety concerns but also instill the values of keeping up appearances, which in turn makes an area desirable and keeps property values higher rather than lower.
When buildings are neglected, and when property owners become neglectful in their responsibilities, communities begin a downward descent that, if not corrected immediately, could lead into worse elements entering the area.
Ridgewood is a desirable place to live, buy a house and raise a family because many owners play by the rules and properly maintain their homes and streets.
There is nothing worse for a vibrant neighborhood than to watch someone treat it with utter disregard. This is what has happened at the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Woodbine Street, in the heart of Ridgewood.
A fruit and vegetable market opened last year, but from the beginning, it appeared destined to be a dark mark on the area.
The owners were careless with their garbage, which laid around for days on end in black bags that oozed rotting fruit juices and drew vermin and flies. When confronted, the proprietors claimed they were having trouble with private pick up companies; after prodding by neighbors, however, they managed to find a refuse carrier.
They installed large air conditioning units in their backyard, and the residents of adjoining houses were bombarded 24 hours a day with the machinery thumping away. Summonses issued by the Department of Environmental Protection did no good. The machines kept going.
The Department of Sanitation issued multiple summonses for obstructive sidewalk displays and large deliveries that were left on public pathways, making passing by the store almost impossible.
The lack of concern demonstrated by the store’s management for the area resulted in less and less customers going into the store to buy anything.
Last week, after a steady dwindling of produce and service, the store closed. Plywood was nailed to the entrance doors, the fruit and vegetable stands were left unattended out on the street and various types of garbage were thrown against the wall and left in piles.
The storefront was seemingly abandoned and left to rot.
The makeshift addition to the garage on the side of the store was locked from the inside and the smell emanating from the illegal structure stuns passersby.
Left unattended, the corner will adapt the theme of the “broken windows theory.” If a neighborhood appears to be broken down, it will invite further incivility, as a lack of upkeep sends the message to all that no one cares about the community they work and live in.
Fortunately, the people of the neighborhood do care. They will work with city agencies to remove this blight. While this problem will eventually be resolved, the shame of those who allowed this disgraceful neglect to occur will never be removed.
Post new comment