BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
A group of senior and disabled residents were finally relieved on Sunday after having been confined to their homes for five days due to an approximately three-inch block of ice covering the corner of 83rd Street and 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights.
Jackson Heights resident Monique Grodzki emailed the Queens Tribune, Community Board 3 and local elected officials about the hazardous condition last week. According to Grodzki, every time the city is blanketed in snow, the owners of a vacant property at 82-18 37th Ave. do not shovel, resulting in the community either being forced to take up the responsibility to clean up the site or face the risk of someone slipping and falling.
“There are many elderly people living in the apartment buildings on 83rd Street between 37th and Roosevelt Avenue and they can’t leave their houses for days,” Grodzki said. “They have to walk on that side of the street, only to get to 37th Avenue as it is impossible for them to climb over the snow banks to get them to the other side. This leaves them unable to get to the supermarket, drug store or doctor’s appointments until all the snow or ice melts.”
Grodzki, who said that members of the community look out for one another, has taken on the task of food shopping for many of the elderly residents, although the slippery ice also poses a threat for her.
“Jackson Heights is and has always been a tight knit community, where the residents all look out and help one another,” Grodzki said.
Grodzki said that she called 311 a number of times regarding the situation, but nothing had been done. In addition, she attempted to contact Tristar, the owners of the property, whose contact information is posted on the front doors.
“The owners of the property must be held responsible to remove the snow and put down salt,” Grodzki said. “If other stores, businesses, private houses and apartment buildings can shovel and create a safe environment for their community, why can’t they?”
The Queens Tribune also called Tristar for a comment, but no one answered the phone.
At 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, city sanitation workers spent more than three hours cleaning up the ice and putting down salt.
“All the elderly people on the block finally got to go out,” Grodzki said. “Hopefully, that was our last snowstorm of the season and, next year, maybe after [Tristar] gets the bill from the city, they will arrange for someone to clean.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org