The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Modest Victory For Truth - Justice, Are You In There?

Finally mainstream media has taken a close look at something those of us on my block have known for some time. Barry Hers, landlord of 60 Clarkson, is getting rich by running a slum. Not the usual way of refusing to provide basic services to tenants. Oh, he does that all right, and his building is a rat-infested hellhole for the few hundred folks living under his greedy thumbs. But he's figured out how to double or triple his take - make a contract with the City's Department of Homeless Services to rent out his apartments for $3K a month to...homeless families. As if the indignity of putting yourself at the mercy of the City isn't bad enough, for the taxpayer's money comes moldy walls, broken plumbing, bedbugs, cracking paint, leaks, and occasionally no hot water or heat in winter.

It's an outrage. The Q tried his darndest to get attention to the matter, even meeting with CAMBA (the social service agency charged with overseeing the clients in the building) and trying to get a meeting with DHS. I sent out emails to a lot of folks in the media, but interestingly not to WNYC, who actually picked up the story today. No matter how the piece made it to the always on-it Cynthia Rodriguez, I'm glad to see our friend Vina getting a chance to tell the story from an actual tenant's perspective. There are only a few rent paying tenants left in the building, and they're getting SQUEEZED to leave. We're talking good people, folks. Not thugs or nuisances. Mr. and Mrs. King, for instance, have been here for 40 years, helping hold the block together while most newcomers wouldn't have dreamed of living here. It's heartbreaking really. The wife has always noted what a gorgeous building is 60. In fact, back in the day it was where "the rich people lived," according to twins Sandy and Randy who've lived on the block their whole lives.

The story's here: WNYC on 60 Clarkson.

Thanks Cynthia. Everyone, please, forward this story to whomever you know who could actually see Mr. Hers pay for his inhumanity, and change a system that allows slumlords to get rich off of all of us. Yuch.


diak said...

At a bare minimum, rules should be in place that an apartment must be vacant for a specific length of time (a year? two years?) before it becomes eligible for this ripoff program. That would at least discourage the evictions of rent-paying tenants.
And all payments should be withheld on any apartment with code violations. $3000 is a lot of leverage; why won't the city use it?

Does anyone have any info re this slumlord? Seems even the WNYC reporter couldn't track him down...

Anonymous said...

This is a teachable moment, but we are learning the wrong lessons.
The real lesson is that government largesse, in the name of "compassion" almost inevitably becomes a cesspool of cronyism, with (largely negative) unintended consequences.

If the market (that dreaded, old fashioned thing) were allowed to set rents based on value, and what people were willing to pay, and could afford, there would not be this incredible distortion of the market, creating a vast difference between artificially lowered rents (via rent control) and price insensitive tenants (those funded by government).

But by all means, lets throw more government money into the rental market, and not allow landlords to set prices by the market, so we can provide every incentive for cronies of government to game the system, at the expense of pretty much everyone else.

msbossyrossy said...

Does anyone know about this low income housing development on Linden Blvd b/w Nostrand and Rogers?

Anonymous said...

Public Record of one lawsuit brought against Barry Hers Realty Inc., in 2005. Dismissed.

Anonymous said...

Public Record of a lawsuit filed against Berry Hers Realty Inc., in 2005. Dismissed

Naomi said...

There's now a security guard in front of 60 Clarkson. Let's hope this one lasts longer than the previous one (which also came about after community agitation).