NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a sight for sore eyes in Elmhurst, Queens, a potentially dangerous billboard was finally coming down Wednesday.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez first reported Tuesday night, the billboard was hanging for years over Queens Boulevard at the junction with Barnwell Avenue.
Neighbor Thomas McKenzie said Wednesday the billboard’s impending removal is a relief.
“The owner called me this morning, or someone purported to be the owner, at 7:45, saying he was going to take care of things and he was a nice neighbor,” he said.
The billboard is mounted on top of a building that has been abandoned for more than 15 years. McKenzie expressed his frustration, having filed countless complaints with the city for more than a decade.
“The building is falling down. The sign is coming apart. There are people in the building. It’s open; unsafe; unguarded,” McKenzie said. “The Buildings Department does nothing.”
McKenzie said the billboard planks have narrowly missed pedestrians and cars on Queens Boulevard – the notorious boulevard of death.
The Department of Buildings said it was the property owner’s responsibility to maintain the building and the billboard on top.
Despite receiving 13 maintenance tickets from the city, including two for failing to maintain the billboard, the owner did nothing, McKenzie said.
After the problem was exposed Tuesday night, the owner apparently sent workers to clean it up.
“I saw two men pulling off ‘don’t post bills’ signs. I saw a man putting up a wooden door where the old steel door was ripped off,” McKenzie said. “If it weren’t for CBS, nothing would have been done. I can’t thank you enough, and Hazel Sanchez. God Bless you.”
The building owner is due in court in April, owing the city $5,000 in fines.
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