Two ugly buildings have caught the attention of City Council member Gale Brewer and she’s pushing the city employee who owns them to get rid of them.

Diane Haslett-Rudiano, chief clerk of the Brooklyn Borough Office of Elections, owns brownstones at 118 West 76th Street and 44 West 73rd Street, but she’s let them fall into disrepair. She told the Daily Newsthat she’s held onto them because her late husband had dreamed of rehabilitating them. (He bought them in the 70’s for a song. The one on 76th street, pictured at right, cost him $5,000 in 1976!) “A lot of my husband’s dreams are wrapped up in that building … but you have to be realistic, and the thing to do is to let someone else enjoy it,” she told the Daily News.

Meanwhile, the buildings have become eyesores, and attracted that familiar Upper West Side scourge: rats!

“Over the past 12 years I have sent many letters to the owner, sharing the concerns of my constituents,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer in a statement. “My office has reached out offering to assist in mending the situation in any way possible, at first to try to improve the situation together and get her to do something about the rat infestation and garbage. When it became clear that she had no intention to make any improvements and maintain these buildings, I tried putting her in touch with a broker recommended by the block association. She never followed up on any of these things, and I found her lack of concern and refusal to be reasoned with deeply disturbing. Things can’t continue this way, the upper West Side community has had enough of being ignored and we want a new person to take possession since it is clear that the current owner is not a responsible property owner.”

Brewer and others spoke in front of the buildings on Sunday.

Judith Bronfman, President of the West 76 Street Block Association, Inc. summarized their attempts to repair 118 West 76 Street. “Over these years, the building has grown more derelict, more of an eyesore, a greater haven for rats. As our block has worked to improve itself, to make it a clean, safe, pleasant environment, 118 has mocked our efforts.”

The building on 73rd street, pictured at left, has run into similar problems.

“Our West 73rd Street Block Association and its members and residents on this block have been under duress by the great amount of rats running around the sidewalk and the street every evening. Needless to say, it has eroded the quality of life and real estate values on this block where many are owners of their building and/or their apartments,” said Frances Apgar, President of the West 73rd Street Block Association.

Brewer also said Haslett-Rudiano probably shouldn’t hold her city job: “She is a very bad example of home ownership (and) public servant responsiveness. She’s not somebody who should be either owning property or, in my opinion, (be a supervisor) of the Board of Elections.” (That seems like an overreach: she might be a bad landlord, but that doesn’t mean she’s not good at her job.)

Brewer is calling for some response from Haslett-Rudiano. Maybe this will push her to sell the places. There’s no question she’d make millions.

Photos via Gale Brewer’s office.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 13 comments | permalink
    1. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: “Brewer also said Haslett-Rudiano probably shouldn’t hold her city job: “She is a very bad example of … public servant responsiveness. She’s not somebody who should be … in my opinion, (be a supervisor) of the Board of Elections.”

      Au Contraire, Dear CouncilMember Brewer, but she IS PERFECT AS A SUPERVISOR AT THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS!


      If in doubt, please reference our Mayor’s comments about these … err … “people” (possibly, altho’ actually they might be Space Aliens or Pod People!)


    2. phyllis bishop says:

      The building at W.73rd St. Was the seized by the sheriff and sold and as in the photo in this article is being renovated. So the reporter needs to be
      more upto date.

      • Resident says:

        Phyllis Said:

        “The building at W.73rd St. Was the seized by the sheriff and sold and as in the photo in this article is being renovated. So the reporter needs to be
        more upto date.”

        This is a total lie.

        There is no renovations going on at this building. The scaffolding is there incase the roof cornerstones fall off.

        • Susan says:

          The permit on the scaffolding at the West 73rd St. Building is long expired. It is unclear if it is still structurally sound. I often see more rats than people walking my dog on our block at night. In my opinion, Mrs. Haslett-Rudiano’s negligence in this situation is posing a health hazard, likely in many ways.

    3. dcortex says:

      Crony deal in the first place- for 5,000 a townhouse was only common North of the westside in the 60’s. By the 1970’s you’d need to sit in Vito Lopez’s lap for these prices.

    4. Liz says:

      Why would anyone be surprised that the supervisor for the Board of Elections who claimed to live in Brooklyn but actually lived in Queens hasn’t done anything to repair a property she owns in Manhattan.

      Why doesn’t she get Janet Sadik-Khan to help her develop the building. Maybe they can use it as a storage space for old voting booths and the current Citi Bike vehicles when that program crashes and burns.

    5. dcortex says:

      I know its off topic, but I likewise suspect Chuck Shumer sold all the Westside’s token booths to F.E.M.A. for flood victims.

    6. NYC cyclist says:

      Gale Brewer is getting all the press in this story but isn’t that Mel Wymore, a candidate to succeed her in City Council, in the back of the photo holding up the sign that reads “Rathouse”?

      • Yes, it is. Mel Wymore also did did a little detective work about the property while the NYDN was working on the story and supplied some of the information to the journalist who broke the story.

    7. jeanne says:

      First of all, I can’t believe someone is actually sitting on real estate in Manhattan! Maybe members of the board of health could be persuaded to take evening strolls through both neighborhoods…As a tourist who loves the USW I’ll note to steer clear of these two streets.

      • geoff says:

        sitting on real estate—brownstones? i can’t believe it either.

        i’ve been on 73rd street since 1978. relax folks. it used to be cockroaches the size of sparrows; now it’s rats the size of cats. there will always be some superlative sized creature in our midst. i saw coyotes one morning in central park last year.

        take a deep breath, cross to the other side, and carry on.

    8. anna yamada says:

      tell the lady that if she gave the buildings to me i would put the many homeless veterans who live in riverside park a place to sleep and to rehabilitate the buildings and themselves so as to be able to move to permanent housing elsewhere

      needs to be done.

      uws is so close to becoming “fort hood” capital.


      ys esnns improve the uws? tell bronfman to rehabilitate the alcoholic vets she and her family made billions on already.


    9. Ronshala says:

      Considering the dire need for affordable housing in NYC, couldn’t the city “take over” these buildings, offering the owner a sum – BELOW market value for all the stress and degrading to the neighborhood – and then have a city agency or not for profit like Habitat clean it up, fumigate and renovate , turning them into decent apartments which could be rented at reasonable (controlled rents) which the city would collect. Perhaps a lottery for the apartments?