August 23, by Nathaly Pesantez
Members of the Sunnyside community, along with elected officials and community leaders, rallied outside an apartment building that has been revealed to have “bizarre” American history murals–that include images of fascist leaders– put up by the building’s property manager, who is also accused of harassing and “terrorizing” tenants.
The rally outside 47-55 39th Place, organized by councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, was organized after news broke of the unusual lobby and the alleged experiences of residents living in the building under Neal Milano, the property manager responsible for the elaborate images in the lobby.
Inside the lobby are images of Hitler, Mussolini, a large swastika, and the Confederacy peppered among an elaborate display of American symbols and paraphernalia.
“This is racist. This is deplorable,” Van Bramer said at the rally. “We are sickened by what is happening here in this lobby.”
The building directory also includes some bogus names, including celebrities and Nazis Joseph Mengele and Rudolf Hess. Milano’s attorney said his client was not responsible for the directory and that someone looking to defame him most likely added those names, according to the New York Post.
“The lobby in the building is one of the strangest sights you’ll ever see,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said at the rally. “It can only be described as bizarre.”
Members of Jewish organizations present at the rally denounced the depiction of Hitler and the Nazi flag in the lobby.
“No one should have to walk through their lobby with swastikas and portraits of Adolf Hitler,” said Evan Bernstein, the New York regional director at the Anti-Defamation League at the rally.
The lobby, which depicts prominent figures and moments in American history, like the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, the founding fathers, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also has imagery spilling over into the hallways on the first floor, where a World War II banner shows leaders of the Allied and Axis powers, including an image of Hitler and the Nazi flag. The lobby also includes a Civil War section showing Confederate and Union imagery, including Robert E. Lee and the Confederate flag.
Milano, who is also president of the condo board, is alleged to have told residents that he has guns in his apartment, and is also alleged to have harassed tenants repeatedly through fines and intrusive notices spread across the building on tenant behavior. In one instance, Milano allegedly spread notices around the building about a resident who had a “six-foot-four Middle Eastern person of interest” sleep over more than 20 times, according to NY1 News. In another, Milano allegedly fined residents $200 if they did not fold cardboard properly for recycling, according to the news outlet.
Lynn Calvacca, a lawyer and owner of a condo in the building, is suing Milano and the condo board for a host of grievances that have piled on in the past several years.
“He’s a bully,” she said at the rally. “He’s a terrorist in the Sunnyside area.”
Van Bramer called on the NYPD to conduct a full investigation on Neal Milano and the allegations made by residents in the building and around the neighborhood, and also sent a letter to the mayor about the building, and expressed his hopes in getting Attorney General Eric Schneiderman involved.
The Sunnyside Post was unable to reach Milano’s attorney for comment.
For additional coverage, click on links below:
NY1 Uproar at Queens Condo
NY1 Queens Councilman tours nightmare condo lobby
NYP This Queens building has images of Hitler
ABC7 Lobby of Queens Condo filled with racist posters and flags
PIX11 Sunnyside building decorated with Nazi propaganda, Jim Crow images terrifies neighbors