After having to put up with alleged late- night partying, ball playing in the street, and a front door that had been riddled with obscenities and other graffiti, residents on a tree-lined street in Fresh Meadows may get to breathe a little easier, but not for months.
According to the owner of the home, located at 178-11 69 Ave., the current residents, five male students who attend nearby St. John’s University, will be out before the end of summer.
“I told them, ‘After this, no more rentals.’ When their lease is up, that’s it. They have to go,” Ming Chou said.
When the lease expires in August, Chou plans to renovate the house and move in with his own family.
According to James Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, complaints have been coming in for months.
“They have to let me know as soon as possible when they have these wild parties,” he said. “The last one, we caught them.”
Gallagher believed it was on April 11 at around 2 or 3 a.m. when “Lt. Eric Robinson of the 107th Precinct and his guys were over there and kind of shut down the party. Robinson said it was one of the biggest parties he had seen in years,” the civic leader said.
Gallagher added that neighbors had complained that the disturbances had been going on since last winter. When he was notified of the partying, he complained to the university’s security office the next morning.
“St. John’s confirmed they were St. John’s students,” Gallagher said.
Many other students at the school seemed unaware of the untoward conduct and were surprised by the accusations.
Freshman Emily Vazquez, 18, said, “I think it’s a bad representation of the school. Not all the students are like that. It probably makes them think they shouldn’t go there.”
She suggested that if the reports are true those responsible “should have warnings. If they continue to do that, they should not be in a house near families.”
Biology major Mike Brodnansky, 21, a senior at the college, agreed, saying, “I think it’s a very bad representation for the university. A lot of stuff like that doesn’t happen. I don’t know if it’s St. John’s’ jurisdiction since it’s off campus.
“It’s against the university’s core values,” Brodnansky added.
A statement issued by the university in response to an inquiry by the Queens Chronicle said, “St. John’s University takes its role in our community very seriously and strives to be the best neighbor possible. Students residing in non-university housing are provided with an in-depth guide to living a balanced, healthy, safe and responsible life-style off-campus and are expected to uphold the standards set by the university at all times.
“The Offices of Public Safety and Student Affairs are looking into these reports and will continue to work with our community, including local law enforcement, moving forward.
Regarding news reports saying it’s a fraternity house, the statement continued, “St. John’s does not maintain any fraternity houses, either on or off campus. Further, Sigma Alpha Mu is not a recognized fraternity at St. John’s University.”
According to Chou, the obscene graffiti on the front door, which, he said, appeared about a month ago, was the result of a prank played by a friend of one of the tenants. It has since been removed.
“I don’t come by often,” Chou admitted, “only once a month to collect the rent. I saw the story and told them to get rid of the trash” that had piled up at the side of the house. “They took care of it.”
The current rent on the house is $2,700 a month, he added.
“As the owner,” Chou said, “I understand this is a great neighborhood. They have not lived up to their end of the bargain. I did not know about the situation. As soon as I found out, I took care of it.”
He believes the house needs major renovation work, estimating the cost at $80,000 and expects to be living there by the end of the year or early next year.