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Bay Ridge Is NOT The Best Place In Brooklyn To Raise Children

Last month, some fool wrote an article declaring Bay Ridge to be the best neighborhood in Brooklyn to raise children in.  We have lived in Bay Ridge our whole life, our family has been here for approximately 100 years/five generations – our son is currently being raised in Bay Ridge – basically, we know a thing or two about Bay Ridge.   With our knowledge, we cannot in good faith say that Bay Ridge is the best neighborhood in Brooklyn to raise children in.

verrazano bridge in mesh

Aside from our local political leaders being completely ass backwards with regard to many things such as modern women, marriage equality, common sense spending, and driving at safe speeds – they are also against safety changes to arguably the most dangerous stretch of roadway in Bay Ridge.  Basically, our “leaders” plow through life in a pig-headed manner and that is a terrible example to bestow upon children.

Unfortunately, pig-headed behavior does not stop at local leaders.  It has been bestowed upon the hearts and minds of many of the local yokels within the neighborhood.  From young to old.  For instance, take the old battle axe behind the wheel of this car.

bay ridge drivers

Full plate…


While out for a stroll with our wife and five month old son, this old battle axe decided to plow through a stop sign (which is the norm in Bay Ridge), and proceeded to park her car in the middle of the crosswalk at 79th Street and Ridge Boulevard.  She looked at us in the eyes and yelled through her window for us to go walk around her car – which would have required us to stroller around her in a giant, backward C-loop through Ridge Boulevard, where people do not stop at stop signs.  We asked her to move her vehicle so that we could safely cross the street, she told us off because she “needed to park there so that she could drop mail off into the box.”

This is the common way of life in Bay Ridge.  So, Simone Weichselbaum, you ma’am, need to learn about the beat that you write about and declare to be the best.  Just sayin’.

Bay Ridge Spite Wall A Decade Plus Affair

The Bay Ridge Spite Wall battle has raged for over a decade within the New York City Department of Buildings (since November of 2002 to be exact).  Despite court victories for the neighboring homeowner, whose house is on the right of this photo, where the spite wall was illegally built upon and deemed immediately hazardous in May of 2011, the spite wall remains standing to this very day.

bay ridge spite wall february 2013

The spite wall was built illegally, out of zoning, without a proper permit and over the property line from 123 87th Street and onto the property of 127 87th Street.  Not only that, but the DOB has finally realized that the original house at 123 87th Street has been illegally modified (in a most gaudy of ways) and is completely out of the permitted zoning by being too close to the street.

So, as it stands now, with over ten years of illegal and unsafe construction going on at the Cunningham residence of 123 87th Street in Brooklyn, NY and 111 complaints, (two of which are still open) 32 violations found (18 of which are still open), the Bay Ridge Spite Wall still stands as a testament to the failure of the local New York City government.  The Department of Buildings has proven itself to be an inadequate bureaucracy that is unable to fulfill its intended role.

Mayor Bloomberg, since this issue has been going on for the majority of your time as mayor of New York, might you please able to have someone look into this decade long issue and finally get it resolved?  Also, can you have someone revamp the DOB into an agency that can actually help the citizens of New York?

The Bay Ridge Spite Wall & The Forest Of Death

When we last posted about the Bay Ridge Spite Wall, the owner of the wall was fined $12,000.00, had begun to dismantle the upper portions of the wall, and covered everything with a blue tarp.  Thankfully, Hurricane Irene tore down that tarp so that Ronald Reagan can stop rolling in his grave.  (If you’re new to this discussion, you can learn the history of the Spite Wall here, or watch a Fox 5 news report of it here)

The scores of cinderblocks from the upper portions of the wall are now an unmortared wall facing the street — because even a grumpy old man who built things illegally on his neighbor’s property still likes to build forts —  Gatorade has been brought into this against their will and it raises the question about whether or not the Bay Ridge Spite Wall should be rebranded the Gatorade Spite Wall of Bay Ridge?  Plus, the evergreens planted along the sidewalk are now all dead, leaving the site to looks like a forest of death.

It stands as a sad visual of the horrible bureaucracy that is the City of New York, and it appears that only Harry Potter can save us now…

Bay Ridge Spite Wall Immediately Hazardous And Fined $12,000.00

Yesterday we checked up on the illegal Bay Ridge Spite Wall and found that much more of it has come down.  Though a blue tarp is obstructing the view from the street, it looked as though the steel beams that were meant to support a second floor, as well as much of the rear portions of the wall have been removed.  

We counted another six layers of cinderblock having been removed from the right side. 

As if the spite wall coming down isn’t good enough, we spotted via the NYC Department of Building’s website that the owner of the spite wall (Robert Cunningham) has received a $12,000.00 fine for failing to provide an engineer’s report from a licensed engineer.  Sweet justice!!!

Lastly, the DOB has finally labeled the spite wall a “Class 1 – Immediately Hazardous”, which we suspect is the reason that the spite wall is finally, after years of legal wrangling, coming down.    Our only hope is that the Cunningham’s got struck by lightning and said lightning gave them some reasonable sense once again to the point that when the wall is fully removed, they will also fill in the foundation pit and once again plant a nice lawn and garden.

Bay Ridge Spite Wall Coming Down?

Back on April 5th, we wrote about how after years upon years of illegal activity, the Bay Ridge Spite Wall was getting seriously dangerous.  Later that week, on April 9th, we received word (and photos) that a dumpster had arrived, and that a small construction crew had begun to take down the wall — despite a longstanding stop work order

Seeing as how Mr. Cunningham, the owner of the illegal wall, was long ago ordered to tear down that wall, we’re not sure what the proper legal process is to remove it.  Are new permits required?  Or is the removal supposed to be done while the full stop work order is in effect?  In any event, whatever the proper channel is, this is what the scene looked like on the 9th.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, we passed by the wall and found that a hefty portion of it has indeed been removed.

We counted seven full layers of cinderblock removed from the right side, with portions of more layers in the front, as well as a good chunk of the entire left wall gone.  A blue tarp hides much of the activity of the site, with five evergreens now planted along the sidewalk.  The evergreens currently mask a fairly steep and unsafe slope that drops into the construction pit — the construction fence has been moved back about ten feet down into the construction pit and as such is clearly far away from the sidewalk.

Is this the half-assed sign of the Cunningham’s coming to the reality that building the structure partially on and attaching it to his neighbors property was a poor choice?  Or is it all part of some bigger mind game that he has up his sleeves? 

Only time will tell.

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