Henry Street Courtyard Serves As Filthy Garbage Dump, Buffet For Vermin

An open backyard on Henry Street has become an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord for rats and other vermin, with piles of trash, discarded furniture, construction remnants, bottles, bags and broken glass overrunning the one-time manicured outdoor space.

Located behind Montague Street’s Andy’s Chinese restaurant, Dashing Diva nail salon and the Heights Vision Center, and across from Corcoran real estate on Henry, the cluttered dump is easily accessed through an open iron gate. For years, residents have been complaining to landlords and business owners, to no avail, as it continues to accumulate garbage strewn & stacked at liberty.

In the Brooklyn Paper this week, writer Kate Briquelet quotes Brooklyn Heights Assn. executive director Judy Stanton: “It’s third-world disgusting. Everyone walking by can see it from Henry Street. “It’s a dumping ground.”

Longtime neighbor Andrew Porter told the Paper that the shared courtyard is rampant with critters at night, and that passersby apparently regard the grounds as a public landfill. “A few days ago there was a sofa there,” Porter said. “I just wish someone would clean it up.”

Neighbors claim that calls to 311 and business managers have gotten no response, while queries by the Brooklyn Paper to the landlords of the three adjoining businesses—including major Coney Island developer Thor Equities, which owns the salon building— were ignored.

In the 1980s, the grounds housed a memorial garden and fountain honoring the former landlord’s son—until the family moved away. The fountain remains today… stacked with refuse.

Bobby Cruz, former owner of the UPS Store building on Montague Street, took it upon himself to bag some of the garbage earlier this month, in hopes of opening a tapas and wine bar beneath Heights Vision this spring. His intention is to turn part of the yard into outdoor seating for the business. He says he’ll continue to clean, with hopes that flowers will soon replace shards of glass.

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  • AmyinBH

    The neighborhood needs more business owners like Bobby Cruz. He clearly wants to improve Montague Street. Why aren’t the owners of Andy’s concerned about operating in a rat zone.

  • Gerry

    This used to be a beautiful garden tended to by an older woman who may have been kind of cranky sometimes. Now this is a disgusting mess!

  • Curmudgeon

    You’re right AmyinBH. Bobby is one of the greatest. I miss him terribly since he sold his UPS store business. He is such a nice guy and I wish him the best. He has said he is going to open a restaurant soon and I can’t wait!

  • http://jamesainoris james ainoris

    We and the city should work with bldg owners and buisness men. Ie give tax credits to ones who clean up their property. Now the tax system is set up to raise taxes when you improve your home…. my great uncle was mayor Wagner whos father Senator Wagner along with Mayor LaGuardia set up slum clearance act in the 1930s to clean up horrible buildings which were often fire traps . We need locals to work together to remedy these through action. Many people are out of work now. Maybe we can set up a works program like Roosevelt did to give people the ability to do constructive work cleaning up various parks public or private. Shalom James Ainoris

  • AnnOfOrange

    Yard being cleaned Friday afternoon! Recently passed by the offending site and observed workmen filling a dumpster with debris from the three yards! Many thanks to those responsible….

  • elaine comstock-leirer

    absolutely wonderful idea….you are a mensch

  • Andrew Porter

    I told the Brooklyn Paper what posters here on BHB had posted. They wanted to take photos of me standing indignantly in front of the fence but I declined. Likewise, News Channel 12 wanted to interview me, but I also declined.

    What’s especially offensive is the trash that accumulates next to Andy’s on the patch of ground between the building and the street. They’re required to keep this clean but seldom do. There are two enormous rat holes there next to the tree planted at the edge of the concrete.

  • BronxKid

    why not just boycott Andy’s until they clean the place up?

  • Bette

    Bobby Cruz for BH Resident of the Year!

    I noticed this trash dump and thought it was the fault/neglect of the owners of Andy’s restaurant, to go along with their neglect of the dirt/trash next to their place. Don’t know if it is their fault and sorry to impugn them if it’s not, but if I was a business owner nearby, particularly if I owned a restaurant near that dump, I would raise heck to get it cleaned up, even if it meant taking a trash bag there once a day and hauling out what I could myself.

  • Jorale-man

    All that’s need to complete those pictures is a rusty car up on blocks and a couch or two.

    The sidewalks near there are a real minefield too.

  • David on Middagh

    Perfect candidate for a community garden?

  • Nick BC

    I think boycotting Andy’s is a great idea. They are being terrible citizens by allowing a rat infestation next to their restaurant.

    And I also think that the tapas restaurant on Montague sounds like a fantastic idea! Any idea when it will open?

  • Knight

    Isn’t Andy’s Restaurant just a tenant in the building? It’s the landlord that needs to be held accountable.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    They used to sell Christmas trees there in 70’s; it was called “The Big Lot” run by the family that owned those three buildings. I worked there 2 seasons. The first, I busted my frostbitten butt for a month after school and weekends. Then the cheapskate Marc screwed us on our pay, giving us what amounted to about a $1 an hour (less than half the minimum wage at the time) claiming our “tips” were the rest of our pay… but I held my tongue and returned the next season, a year older and wiser. We, (Me and two other “employees”) would offer to sell trees at a discount to buyers we sized up as being “cool”. We would arrange for a late night delivery, then we would simply toss the tree over the wall into the churchyard next door. After the lot closed we would simply retrieve the trees and deliver them… we cleaned up that year sometimes “selling” several trees a night. T’was a great Christmas indeed :)