On the gorgeous yet still gritty shores of Far Rockaway, there sits a beachfront apartment complex on 711 Seagirt Avenue called the Sandcastle, and it actually resembles one. Actually four, the color of the brick buildings matches the sand just feet away from the lots. But aesthetics is not what this is about. This is about another story about people, in this case elderly people, being undermined, mistreated, intimidated and expendable by the perpetrating owners and more indifference by elected higher-ups.
A report by the local paper “The Wave” focused on the “711”, a building marketed and designed for senior citizens, and the myriad problems consuming the building and the frustrations and complaints from the tenants. Insufficient and inefficient security conditions abound with broken intercoms and no guard personnel (the listing for the building states that it has a doorman and conceirge), leading to strangers roaming and suspected drug dealing in the halls and staiways all day and night, and homeless people settling in the concierge area. And of course there are pressing maintenance problems that get ignored.
The management of the complex, Sarasota Gold LLC, according to stressed-out residents has never made a concerted effort to show up for tenant meetings.
It’s a safe bet that the only effort the mysterious gentlemen (and maybe a few token women) of this LLC is to discourage the people from living there. And being that they are at an advanced age and vulnerable, it’s practically easy pickings. Now why does this seem quite nefarious, because these are the usual brass tactics of avaricious landlords when an area suddenly becomes “hot” or “cool” like Rockaway has become in the past 5 years. West of the 711 has seen a lot of development up the boardwalk with sleek new towers, a major upscale “hip” hotel, and actual luxury condo buildings on 116th street. But more essentially, a massive and still shocking and ludicrous expensive designer food and craft brew culture scene.
Basically, Sarasota is just conducting savage business as usual as was done in other areas consisting of working poor, retired and even middle class (there are just too many to name right now). And now it’s Rockaway’s turn, especially now that the boardwalk is complete and ferry service has returned. For the goal of the Gentrification Industrial Complex is to turn the entire 5 boroughs into a luxury theme park for the disposable income transients and transplants to our state. The G.I.C. turned Brooklyn into a brand and now it’s Queens’ turn.
So why not put a scare into old people and let the place rot from the inside and outside. Hell, NYCHA has been doing this for decades, sure the feds didn’t provide them enough funding, but the money they got from them and the city they found ways to piss it away. They don’t spend enough money anymore, well mostly because they can’t, and maybe because they won’t, being that they have to spend on other things, like medicine and food they can afford. They are unable to ride bikes like the target and favored demographic does.
Meanwhile in Elmhurst, hundreds of people displaced when a fire engulfed their apartment building, the Martinique Plaza, ignited by an idiot contractor using a torch and propane which were forbidden for the work he was assigned to do, are demanding to appoint an independent monitor to determine the feasibility and the improvements of their homes.
The tenants were moved to hotels (thanks Mayor De Faustio, the only good aspect of your homeless policy) and later moved to shelters when they found the hotels environment to be unsafe and repressive (so much for that, these hotels aren’t even good for a night or two, what they are actually meant and exist for). Since then, they have organized and are very shrewd and quite cognizant of the methods and motives of landlords borough-wide and are very concerned of being disenfranchised from their dwellings. A good reason for their justified skepticism is that the buildings management offered them to move to new apartments if they don’t sue, a bigger reason is that they hired that imbecile who forced them on the streets, and the hugest reason is their superintendent initially lied about the schmuck on the roof until the NYFD came.
The good news is that the building management is being a bit more cooperative. Still, they tried to discourage them and that’s still scummy. It took some nifty assembling and good counseling by the tenants to put their balls on the coals. The folks at the 711 got a harder and higher dune to climb because of their presence on fabricated high end real estate and are relying on some guy running for public advocate.
Speaking of advocacy, where is Letitia ” Fatty Fat Fat” James? Or Councilman Donovan Richards, who was last seen crowing about the Mott St shopping center redevelopment, or even their congressman Gregory “Squatter” Meeks? The 711 is practically under siege and people who spent their whole lives working, paying taxes so they can live near the nice beach are afraid to open their doors and go outside to enjoy it. And the owners and management are not only avoiding the building but letting the wolves run amuck. And these are elderly people for christsakes
This has been asked before and will be asked over and over. Does someone have to get killed first to get the services needed?