UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — Tenants frustrated by scaffolding up on their Upper West Side building for 15 years recently discovered they’re not alone; their landlord has at least 10 other buildings with similar issues.
When the pedestrian shed was first erected in 2006, tenants at 51 West 86th Street thought that was just life in the big city, a temporary but necessary annoyance while construction work was underway. But 15 years later, the shed is still there and the scaffolding and netting has been extended all the way up to the top of the 16 story building, with little apparent work taking place for 15 years.
Then they found a similar problem at 350 Central Park West, where a shed has been up almost as long. Jack Weinreb is the landlord for both buildings.
“It feels like 100 years,” tenant Kim Rubens Quiros said.
The New York City Department of Buildings has fined landlord Jake Weinreb for sheds and scaffolding with no work being done. It amounts to close to $109,000 in fines at 51 West 86th Street, another $60,000 for 350 Central Park West and $65,000 at another Weinreb building at 777 West End Avenue.
The tenants found that Weinreb has at least ten buildings on the Upper East Side and Upper West Sides with similar scaffolding issues.
David Rosen, the vice president of the Tenants Association, said they’ve been doing what they can to get local politicians involved.
“People are upset about the way landlords treat tenants in the city,” Rosen said.
The tenants have hired a lawyer and sent a threatening letter to the landlord who finally responded to them.
“We are aggressively working to complete all work as quickly and safely as possible and anticipate that the required repairs will be made in 18 to 24 months,” the landlord said to the tenants.
“It’s a bullcocky,” said Alisa Matlovsky, a longtime tenant at 51 West 86th Street. “He talks about doing some things, but he’s done nothing in 15 years,” she added.
PIX11 has repeatedly reached out to Weinreb over the last month; he has not yet responded to any calls.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called for new legislation.
“You can either finish it in five years or take it down. Pick a date,” she said.