Fence Goes up Around Crumbling Greek Revival House in Wallabout


A green construction fence has gone up around the decaying but historic house at 69 Vanderbilt Avenue, right next to the BQE in Wallabout. “Is the city tearing it down?” asked the reader who sent us this photo.

The answer is likely no. The house is landmarked, has had the same owner since 1979, and the owner has not applied for any type of permit for demolition or any other construction, including the fence, city records show.

The Greek Revival house is a twin of the one next door at No. 71 and was likely constructed in 1850, according to the designation report.

A complaint from June said the house was shaking and leaning, and there appeared to be construction going on inside. The DOB team sent out to investigate found no evidence of construction but said “front porch is unstable…neighboring houses may be in danger. Children have been playing in area near vacant building.”

Our guess is the fence is to keep out those children and other visitors, and to protect passerby from any collapse. Anyone know more?

3 Comment

  • This house sadly will probably end up being knocked down under the City program of knocking down “dangerous neglected” buildings.
    Even though it is within the Landmark district, it can still be knocked down by the City.
    It also appears to be another example of estate family disputes, where perhaps the Surrogates Court should step in. There are many crumbling buildings around the City that are in family disputes via estates that are not properly settled, where no one member can buy the others out, not all can agree to sell and they linger on causing damage and blight to neighbors property and the neighborhood and no one seems able to do anything about it.
    This house is clearly causing damage, devaluation to the house next door. Obviously it is not worth much being right underneath the BQE, it seems obvious to me that if the neighbor can prove that they are willing to take it on, why can’t the City move to accelerate the Tax lien and violation fines and sell it to the neighbor who clearly has an interest in maintaining it, if they want to take it on, but in this case why would they not?.
    There is a similar house on my block, I have had my title attorney investigate it. It was part of an estate where neither the husband or wife left a will, it went to the husbands brother and sister, both of whom have also died. The brother had been made the administrator by the court, the sister had challenged the court and won, so the brother and sister where joint administers, they clearly did not get along, nothing happened, the daughter of the sister is operating it like she owns the house, she clearly cannot maintain it and it is also in arrears with Real estate taxes etc. There are probably other heirs out their somewhere, probably too many to make it worth any of them fighting for it……so it sits falling apart in estate dementia! Why can’t the surrogates court step in to clean all this rotting blight up? It is one thing claiming property rights, but are the neighbors not entitled to property rights?

  • This property has broken my heart for years and the neighbors take such excellent care of their historic home. This property was briefly covered during the Historic Wallabout Walking Tour.