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City Issues Warning About Illegal Apts. Two Years After Woodside Fire

Nov. 10, 2011 Staff Report

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the citywide distribution of educational flyers warning New Yorkers about the dangers of illegally converted apartments.

In a statement LiMandri said that illegal dwellings pose a serious threat to tenants, neighbors and first responders.

This month, the Department will be distributing an additional 10,000 flyers at transportation hubs across the City. This awareness campaign was launched after a tragic fire broke out in an illegal cellar apartment in Woodside, Queens, on November 7, 2009, when three men lost their lives.

As a part of the campaign, Department inspectors and community liaisons have handed out flyers at major transportation hubs throughout the City and targeted neighborhoods where the most illegal conversion complaints are generated.

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There are many illegal conversions in and around this part of Queens. It’s easy to tell since A) You see over 20 different people living in a one family house, B) They hog all the parking spaces in the surrounding area, C) Their power usage bills are skyhigh, D) multiple satellites or cable connections indicate overflow usage, and E) unfortunately, many of the ones I see are latino or asian.

Distributing flyers won’t do anything. Changing the laws and allowing DOB’s to inspect these homes would do much, much more!


Sunnysider, if you think something is going on you should report it to 311. Posting a comment here won’t get anything looked at. Given what happens in some illegal conversions, you may be preventing a tragedy.

Also, you should know that as far as that woman’s barking dog is concerned, if he’s chained to a fence or to the building for more than 3 hours, it’s illegal. Thanks to Council Member Vallone for leading the charge on this:

If the link breaks, go to and search for “tethering” and see the press release from February 2011.

Good luck.

sunnysider willvary from none to 2 or 3 plus their is a third room that over looks a roof. They are not allowed to smoke in their room so they open up the window and put unlit butts on the roof and window sill. Have been told this by neighboros who help clean off roof for us. We are all great neighbors here. We all help each other. We are all friendly.
except for this home owner…what a shame.

this dog can be barking at 6-7 in the am and can wake up the block. she never says anything to the dog.


She is of Korean descent, not Chinese. The dog barks incessantly when left outside, including in freezing weather.

People should be calling 311 to make a building violation complaint and also noise complaint about the dog.


as the saying goes if you see something say something — call the city, write the city call your counsel people — you don’t have to give a name — just have everyone start doing it — i am sure that results will happen — if people only talk about it nothing will happen everyone has to speak up


I think I have a illegal 2 family house on my block. A chinese lady owns the house lives down stairs and rents up staris to studetns going to colledge in the city. I think she build small rooms for them upstaris. I never saw them but I heard about them. The whole block has heard about this for years. check out 39-75 44th street . A metal fence surronds the property. A small vicious dog barks llike crazy..

This propery is about 3 houses from the corner cross the the church off skillman ave.


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