Neglected House Terrorizes Columbia Heights

Brownstoner reports that debris flew off of the neglected brownstone at 194 Columbia Heights yesterday causing the street to be closed off.  BHB’s Qfwfq reported police tape around the area last night but no visible damage.

Neighborhood sources claim that the property has long been the bone of contention in the owner’s decades long divorce case.   According to Property Shark, a Vacate Order was issued in June 1986.   Brownstoner adds that no one has lived there since. [Note: We’re researching the labyrinth of public information regarding this property. Look for updates soon. – ed.]

The owner of record is Dr. Austin Moore who has a psychiatry practice at 123 Henry Street.

BHB Community member Andrew Porter observed back in March 2008:

That house on CH has been padlocked much longer than 10 years. It’s been like that since I’ve lived in the Heights (moved here in 1968!). You can look at the back of it on the Promenade and see how bad it really is. The neighboring building covered one of the windows over with black plywood, and there’s ivy growing on the back. Gorgeous stained glass in the stairwell is visible on the back, as the place slowly decays.

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  • Neighborhood Observer

    Good grief! On top of the blight, a police car was stationed in front of the house overnight…..wonder if the City will charge the owner for the expense. And, he’s a psychiatrist on Henry Street? If true, sounds like he needs serious therapy!

  • nabeguy

    Small wonder that he couldn’t sell it given how much he let the place go to seed. His neighbors must be livid. Nice War- of-the-Roses type story to set just the right mood for Valentine’s Day!

  • John Wentling

    I’ll bet it’s infested with rats too – where’s BHA when you really need `em?

    What a shame, such a potentially lovely brownstone, speaking of which, what’s the rule on squatters? :)

  • nate

    “where’s BHA when you really need `em?”

    I think they’re in Palm Beach.

  • Susan Raboy

    1976-1988 I lived across the street from the place. For awhile father and and and son lived there. Place was in a shambles back then. And, yes I would see a rat or two.

  • nate

    Why hasn’t the department of buildings condemned the building and ordered its demolition yet? It looks in worse condition that the building the ordered demolished last year on the corner of Clark Street and Monroe Place. It sounds like it poses a danger to passersby, and that is such a busy sidewalk. I hope the landmarks commission can tear itself away from scrutinizing the minute details of people’s windows and doors and do something helpful here.

  • Andrew Porter

    Yeah, Nate, let’s tear it down. And replace it with…what? Better to restore it, save the blockwall of wonderful houses that line that side of CH. On the back, Promenade side, someone covered several of the windows with black-painted plywood several years ago, and there is ivy growing over that and up the walls. And, of course, ivy will do even more to destroy the mortar holding the bricks in place. You can see wonderful stained glass in what’s likely a stairwell on the Promenade facade.

    The BHA, meanwhile, has been concerned with this property, and it’s been written up in their Newsletter. But faced with an owner unwilling to make repairs, the NYC government and locals can do very little.