It was the busiest day in the life of the Rat-Squirrel House since Feb. 27, 2008, when the DOB slapped a sidewalk shed and a vacate notice on the sad, dilapidated, falling-down, seriously, ridiculously run-down landmark Cobble Hill red-brick residence.
On Wednesday, July 29, the authorities smashed down the old front door of the 1901 building at 149 Kane Street, which has been an eyesore and a menace to neighbors for years now, home to squirrels, pigeons, (maybe rats) and one old woman who would not leave and would not fix the place up.
According to reports gathered by Lost City, inside they found a squatter and mounds upon mounds of garbage. Whether the garbage was accumulated by the squatter or by longtime owner Arlene Karlsen—who lived in the crazy, crumbling structure until recently—is unclear. Karlson, who apparently lived around the corner now, in another building she owns (not as badly kept up) was, accordingly to a witness, given the choice of being arrested or taken to the hospital. She left in an ambulance. Sad.
A DOB complaint filed that day noted "FAILURE TO MAINTAIN INTERIOR. BLDG OVERLOADED WITH DEBRIS." Past notices have only commented on the exterior. Another complaint, filed July 30, noted that the permit for the sidewalk shed had expired, and that it didn't meet safety code standards.
Today, July 30, a van and some workman were on the scene to re-seal the door. They had little information as to future of the four-story building, but speculated that its status as part of the Cobble Hill landmark district would make tearing it down a bit problematic. While I would love to see it restored, I am doubtful that can be accomplished at this point.