Residents of one Staten Island community hit hard by Hurricane Sandy want to know what's being done about an abandoned home they say is an eyesore and safety hazard. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
The entrance to 31 Mapleton Avenue in Midland Beach has been cemented shut. So have all of the windows on the first floor of the abandoned house.
"It is discouraging to see the houses like this. It looks like a condemned area like now," said Desdemona Offley, a neighborhood resident.
Residents say they first noticed the cement several weeks ago, and began wondering whether it was there to keep the mold they say is growing inside from spreading. Another idea is that the first floor was sealed off to prepare the home for demolition.
"You get nervous about things like this. The area's being left open to like the homeless people, you know, it endangers the kids," Offley said.
"Twenty months later, really, take a look. Why the second floor they didn't do nothing? Why the house wasn't taken down? This house has to be taken down," said Aiman Youssef of Midland Beach Neighborhood Relief.
As it turns out, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development put up the cement when the house next door was knocked down in February because of a collapsed roof.
HPD says the cement was added to ensure the stability of number 31 as what was left of 29 was demolished. And while that response explains the why the door and windows were filled in, it doesn't provide any clue about what will happen to the house.
"We're trying to get back to normal, but how we gonna get back to normal? People have no home to return to, and this is...look at it," Youssef said.
According to the Department of Finance, the same person owns both 29 and 31 Mapleton Avenue. NY1's calls to that person were not returned. The city would not say whether it was able to locate the owner, either.
The Department of Buildings did say there are no plans to knock down 31 Mapleton anytime soon and that leaves residents to deal with what's left.