The Real Deal New York

City sues owner of dilapidated Central Harlem rowhouse

In a rare move, city pressures owner of landmarked property to make repairs

August 17, 2015 09:32AM

Astor Row in Central Harlem

Astor Row in Central Harlem

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is suing the owner of a ramshackle, landmarked house in Central Harlem, in hopes of pushing her to make renovations. The LPC is asking a judge to fine the owner $5,000 a day until she makes the repairs.

The 133-year-old three-story house at 28 West 130th Street is missing most of its roof, and many of its internal floors and walls, DNAinfo reported. Nina Justiniano bought the house 28 years ago for just under $30,000. The 63-year-old said she’s eager to make the repairs, but can’t afford to do so until she sells her primary residence.

The suit is an uncommon move for the LPC, which has only filed 13 similar actions in the past 12 years. While the law requires all landmarked homes to be kept in good order, this is the first lawsuit of its kind since 2012.

The home sits on historic Astor Row on the south side of West 130th Street between Lennox Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The houses there are known for their Victorian-style front porches. In the 1990s, the city spent $1.7 million, donated by Brooke Astor, to renovate 25 of the 28 porches on the row. Justiniano’s home was vacant at the time, and so it wasn’t rehabilitated. [DNAinfo]Ariel Stulberg