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Vacant Lot Owned by John Catsimatidis Is an Eyesore, Uptowners Say

By Nigel Chiwaya | September 19, 2013 10:28am
  Residents say a vacant lot 162nd Street owned by John Catsimatidis has become a dumping ground.
Catsimatidis Triangle a garbage dumping ground
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Billionaire grocery magnate John Catsimatidis ran for mayor arguing that his experience running a business qualified him to run New York.

But the Gristedes mogul, who finished second to Joe Lhota in last week's Republican primary, can't even take care of his own property, leaving a lot he owns in Washington Heights to become a magnet for garbage and debris, according to neighbors.

Residents say they've long complained about the lot at 2080 Amsterdam Ave., which was filled with discarded cups, plates, chairs and even shards of broken glass on Wednesday afternoon.

"If you can't take care of your home, you can't care of your business," said Antawn Mitner, who lives nearby and said he's seen rats scamper through the lot. "This is his property ... As it stands right now, it's an eyesore."

Residents say that the lot, which Catsimatidis has owned since 1984, has been vacant for years, but it became a garbage dump last fall, when Hurricane Sandy knocked down a wooden fence around the perimeter.

The lot became so bad that residents contacted Community Board 12, which in turn called the Department of Sanitation to come clean up the private property, they said.

"I received complaints from the community that it was an eyesore, that the fence was torn down and that people were using it as the dumping ground," said CB district manager Ebenezer Smith.

Smith got in contact with Catsimatidis' Red Apple Real Estate after the cleanup, and a new wire fence was erected. However, the site is still filled with garbage, neighbors say.

Catsimatidis spokesman Rob Ryan told DNAinfo New York on Wednesday that the mess would be taken care of immediately.

"A representative of Red Apple's Real Estate Division was at he site earlier today and a cleanup is being arranged," Ryan said.

Neighbors said a change can't come fast enough.

"It creates an ugliness to the neighborhood," said Jisette Hernandez.