Columbia Heights Horror Show Adds Graffiti To List Of Transgressions

While the neglected brownstone at 194 Columbia Heights hasn’t proven the “Broken Windows Theory“, it sure is trying hard to do so. We noticed some graffiti on its front door today. This is another incident in the decline of the worst building on the best block in Brooklyn Heights.


Photo: Qfwfq

In 2009, owner Dr. Austin Moore told the Brooklyn Eagle that he’d “surprise everybody” by doing some improvements in “the spring”. While the roof was patched and a falling debris issue was resolved, continued neglect could end with its demolition.

In the same Eagle story, BHA Executive Director Judy Stanton noted that 194 Columbia Heights “may not yet have reached the threshold required to request a Demolition by Neglect action.”

Indeed. However the continued decay of this building would have warranted a “Kick Me” sign in lieu of the name of a faceless and forgettable tagger.

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  • Judy Stanton

    In its current condition, 194 Columbia Heights constitutes a public nuisance, what with a dead tree in the backyard which could fall in any direction, and the neglected exterior and interior conditions which render the house susceptible to rodent infestations. A recent flood in its basement caused trouble for the neighbors on either side. Eventually, Dr. Moore can be taken to court if he lets this property get much worse.

  • Sheila

    Has anyone tried to buy this beautiful building? It hurts my heart to see such neglect for so long!

  • Penny Bridge

    It seems that the BHA could aggressively pursue some arrangement to declare the building unsafe and coordinate a deal whereby LPC and NYC Finance fund the repairs with a lien on the property.

    Are we asleep at the wheel!

  • elemengee

    This is not the only eyesore on a lovely block in Brooklyn Heights. The building on the corner of Clark St. and Monroe Place, while boarded up, is still a blatant sign of neglect and indifference. What is going on there???

  • BH’er

    an anyone identify the tagger or the message?

  • Penny Bridge

    Let’s hope we (BHA in particular) don’t wait too long before taking an action.
    It’s about preservation not just holding developers to height and aesthetic restrictions.

  • GHB

    I hope that this building can still be saved. Dr. Moore should be ashamed of himself!

  • lori

    This has been going on for over twenty years. People have offered to buy the building and Dr. Moore has refused the offer. He refuses to sell; any time he is “threatened” he states he plans to fix it up, but never does. The BHA has tried in the past to remedy this situation, but it’s not so easy to do as long as the person keeps on paying the real estate taxes on the building.

  • GHB

    All so his ex can’t get her mitts on any of the $$$?

  • Gerry

    @ Penny Bridge – in your dreams the City could care less will look the other way for another 50 years.

    @ Shelia – I made an inquiry 15 years ago about the status of the building was told it is NOT for sale

    @ Judy Stanton – who said this is a public nusance? For the most part the building does not bother anyone and if there are any problems they are no more extreme than other brownstones in the Heights. It is highly unlikely that Dr. More would be taken to court someone would need to pay a lawyer to do that $$$ and all the neighbors and BHA do is blow wind — and if Dr. More was taken to court a Judge would have a hard time balancing his rights vs neighbors.

    If anyone in Brooklyn Heights does not like the building they are free to avoid it.

    And this one is a palace compared to 101 Clark Street and the other dump at Willow and Pierrepont Street and a few others in our neighborhood.

    It is what it is not much anyone can or will do about this

  • Heightsman

    Been here 13 years a few doors down and the rumor has always been that he keeps it in that condition on purpose to spite his ex. If BHA could have done anything they would have years ago.

  • HenryLoL

    Why dont we all go over to his house and pay him a visit? Does he live somewhere else in the hood?

  • col hts neighbor

    Gerry… You obviously don’t live near this house otherwise you would understand that it is more than a nuisance. I can see the tree in the back from my back yard and every time a strong wind blows I’m worried it’s going to come crashing down. Never mind what I assume are families of animals living inside. For a neighborhood that’s concerned about lowering it’s “status” because of a hot dog cart, I find it amazing that some wouldn’t be concerned about such an eyesore as well as a safety issue.

  • Gerry

    @ Heightsman – the BHA is a toothless organization would not pop a penny to pay a lawyer to clean up this house all Judy Stanton can do is blow wind her hands are tied.

    @ col hts Neighbor – We live on Montague Terrace take a look at the slum accross the street from my home 9 Montague Terrace seems like every few blocks has a disaster – the tree you speak of is not a problem until it falls and hurts someone sad but true.

    There are a number of ramshackle homes here in Brooklyn Heights – like 101 Clark Street which collapsed a few years ago.

    Maybe the immediate neighbors could approach Dr. More make a personal appeal to clean up the mess? I would not expect more than a clean up the very hight cost of renovating that home is beyond the means of Dr. More he does not have that kind of money.

    In time something will happen and the home will be sold and renovated and become a spectacular place I bet 20 years from now this house will have been sold and restored and loved by some one.

  • GHB

    Gerry, how the #$%! do you know what “Dr. More” has? Our block of Columbia Heights has had a rat problem for a while now, and it’s been centered around that part of the block. All the surrounding buildings have rat traps outside. All because “Dr. More’s” building is not a nuisance!

  • Jorale-man

    Sadly, I suspect this house will be demolished in due time; structures just don’t last under such conditions for that long.

    I do wonder if the neighbors are doing enough to keep an eye on things there. The graffiti is troubling and could be a precursor to squatters or drug dealers who eventually take it over. It’s basically an invitation to more elicit activity.

    * Side note: what happened to using periods and commas on the BHB comments? The absence of grammar on this thread is making my eyes hurt!

  • mimi

    Dr. Moore has the right to do to his property as he wishes. That said, the house should not cause a safety or health concern to the public.

    Maybe he needs someone expertise in assessing and managing any repairs. I’d certainly offer to assist as a kindness, and can recommend other experts, too. Is he elderly? Maybe he just needs help with theses matters. Vengeance is plausible, but I just can’t take that seriously. Whatever his reason for not maintaining this house, it should not crumble and be eventually lost like so much of our historical architecture in NYC.

    If it is about money, he should know there are very affordable ways to make repairs and restorations; ways I doubt he knows about. If this neglect is purposeful, perhaps he might try to confront his reasons for these actions that not only affect an ex spouse…. but the families which reside on either side of this property. There are far better methods to achieve vengeance than through money. He could write his memoirs and publish them online; that would get a lot more vengeance per pound that letting a house rot.

    If you are reading, Dr. Moore… you should make things right…even if it means letting go of some anger. This should not be your legacy.