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Inwood Subway Station Entrance Collects Trash as MTA and Owner Fight

By Nigel Chiwaya | January 21, 2013 1:41pm

INWOOD — A feud between the MTA and the landlord of a building that houses a stairwell into the Dyckman Street A train station has left straphangers wading through piles of trash and human waste, with each side saying they're not responsible for cleaning it up.

Sheets of plywood cover half of the stairway to the downtown A train platform between Broadway and Seaman avenues, blocking entry to that part of the entrance, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has deemed unsafe.

But, as it remains closed, it's gradually filling with garbage. And residents said it's been that way for more than a year.

MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said she's aware of the problems at the station, located under 4175 Broadway.

But Parker said the agency is not responsible for the conditions of the entrance to the subway, which the MTA has leased since 1926, because under the terms of the lease, maintaining the entrance is the responsibility of the landlord.

Parker added that the MTA has sent multiple notices to the building owner, 4761 Broadway Associates, and its management company, New Rochelle-based SW Management, to clean up the entrance.

"We have written to the management recently to reiterate to them that they are absolutely responsible for this area," said Parker. "We are awaiting their response."

Parker would not confirm any pending legal action, saying, "We are waiting for their response to our most recent letter.  We don’t want to go farther than that at this time."

However, at the Community Board 12 Traffic and Transportation meeting, an MTA spokesperson said that the agency was in the process of litigation against the 4761 Broadway Associates.

When contacted by DNAinfo.com New York, a spokesman for 4761 Broadway Associates said it expected the MTA to perform all necessary repairs.

“For nearly the past 30 years that we have owned this property, the MTA has been wholly responsible for cleaning, maintaining and repairing the stairs in the two subway entrances located in our building," spokesman Jamie Van Bramer said.

"In fact, several years ago the MTA undertook needed repairs on the subway stairs at the Broadway entrance and so the expectation is that they will continue to do the same on the Dyckman side as they’ve done in the past.”

Several MTA train station entrances elsewhere in the city are maintained by private companies. For instance, in Times Square, the northwest and southwest entrances of the 42nd Street and 7th Avenue subway station are operated by 3 Times Square Associates and No. 5 Times Square Development, LLC, respectively.

When contacted by DNAinfo.com New York, a spokesperson for No. 5 Times Square Development LLC confirmed that the company maintains and repairs the Times Square southwest entrance as necessary.

Residents near the Dyckman Street A train said they have complained repeatedly to the MTA, and said whoever is responsible should take action sooner rather than later.

"That area has become a repository for trash," Inwood resident Laura Daigen-Ayala said, adding that the landlord should be fined and the MTA should be chastened for allowing conditions to drag on so long. She said the problem has existed for about 18 months.

"This entrance has always been dirty. If this was 86th and Lexington do you think it would stay this way? Not one day," Daigen-Ayala said. "They would be fined."