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Beautiful Houses are Left to Crumble in Manhattan

By: Anna Chuang

Houses that have stunning views of New York City are left deserted and rotting. Some residents want these buildings to be torn down, as they give Union City a repulsive look.

A community in the Palisades has always been home to creative people. In the early 20th century, sculptors, painters, and toy-makers lived in mansions on Mountain Road. Even until the late 1900s, Bonnie Berger, a photographer, owned a brick house in that area. She loved the house and the location, saying that it was a really special home. According to The New York Times, Ms. Berger said, “It was an amazing place to grow up. We had a great backyard. My mom had vegetable gardens. We had hammocks, and a turtle was living there. It was a little oasis. We could see the fireworks every year. It was pretty unique.”

However, in 2005 an investor group offered to buy her property for $1.7 million. This was a deal she couldn’t refuse because she only bought the house for $130,000. More investors came along and started buying house after house in that neighborhood, offering undeniably high prices that owners couldn’t refuse. There were a total of 12 properties that were bought between 2005 to 2009, and some were acquired for as much as $6.5 million, as these old 1900 antique homes display old generations of architecture.

Then, the houses were left to crumble. The investors did nothing to protect or enhance their newly acquired properties, while fires, vandalizers, intruders destroyed the once beautiful, and lively inhabited properties. Such an auspicious building with an amazing view, has been left to waste. The investors promised to develop the area after they bought it, but never formally committed to making a plan for the city.

Residents that still live in the unbought houses on Mountain Road want the uninhabited and rotting houses to be torn down. As stated in The New York Times, Kate Sparrow, a resident, started a petition, saying that “these buildings are a fire hazard, an eyesore, reduce our property values, and give Union City a disgusting presentation.” Unfortunately, she only got 33 signatures on her petition. Ms. Sparrow added, “There was nothing wrong with the houses. They didn’t have to let them rot. But now that they did, why aren’t they tearing them down? There have been fires, vagrants, critters.”

Ms. Berger, who now lives in Chicago, cries, knowing that her old home, along with the once beautiful and promising artistic community that has lasted for so many decades, will never be the way it was before.

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