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Queens Chronicle

Woodhaven home stinks up the joint

Broken pipe leakes sewage, causing a smelly and dangerous problem

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 am

She may have been late for work, or perhaps she’s just always in a rush. Whatever the reason, the young woman dressed in a business suit and a stylish pair of boots almost didn’t see the reeking patch of ice on the sidewalk alongside the two-family, semi-detached home on the corner of 85th Street and 88th Avenue in Woodhaven. But when she did, the sight — and the smell — startled her.

“Oh, ew!” she exclaimed as she climbed over a mound of snow to cross the street.

She isn’t the first person in the neighborhood to notice the disgusting scene.

“It’s awful,” one neighbor said. “When it’s hot, the smell is terrible and now you have the ice there.”

The home at 80-87 88 Ave. in Woodhaven has been leaking raw sewage from a broken pipe on the side of the house for months and the problem appears to have only exacerbated. Now, the sewage has frozen into a dangerous sheet of yellow and brown ice along the sidewalk and in the street.

Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, said the home has been a problem for a while.

“It’s pretty disgusting,” he said. “It’s a real quality-of-life issue for the neighborhood.”

Outside the home, the sidewalk on 85th Street was covered with a sheet of ice for over a week. The leaking raw sewage freezes at night and, since the location of the leak along the side on the house on 85th Street is such that there’s little direct sunlight, stays frozen for most of the day.

The foot or so of snow that fell on the neighborhood last week didn’t help at all. Piles of shoveled snow in the street created a dam of sorts that backs up the leaking sewage onto the sidewalk.

The house itself doesn’t appear to be in any organized condition. On its front porch, children’s toys sit stacked and lined up. Rugs and clothing are strewn across the back fence.

The home is owned by Noris Requena. A phone number registered to Requena at an address in South Richmond Hill is out of service and no one answered knocks on the door Tuesday morning.

The house is located in a heavily trafficked area, two blocks south of the 85th Street-Forest Parkway J-line subway station and two blocks west of St. Thomas the Apostle School. Though it is about a quarter-mile from PS 60, neighbors say children who attend both schools walk past the area. Behind the home is St. Luke’s Church, where there is also a nursery school.

Complaints were made to the Department of Buildings concerning the leaking pipe twice last month, on Jan. 11 and Jan. 14, but no inspections have taken place yet, according to department records.

The house is not the only problem home the neighborhood has had to contend with recently.

An abandoned house at 87-19 90 St. hosted a 2011 party that ended in the beating death of a teenager a few blocks away. The home had been a nuisance for neighbors, hosting loud and rambunctious parties, until the city sealed the home up in September.

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