Residents of a quiet residential block in Maspeth have been terrorized for several years by an emotionally disturbed man who they say regularly harasses neighbors and has turned his home into a crack house.
While residents of 66th Street will have some temporary relief after the individual, Hani Nasser, was recently jailed on assault charges, they worry about the condition of his house at 52-45 66th Street, which is unsecured and could attract squatters and junkies.
Civic leader Roe Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, has been working with 66th Street residents in hopes of forcing the city to take action. “It’s not really progress, but the guy is in jail right now,” she said. Adjacent residents were affected when a pipe in the house burst last year and are concerned that the house will be left to deteriorate, added Daraio.
Neighbors have informed Daraio that Nasser, 25, is enrolled in an out-patient drug treatment program at Elmhurst Hospital Center and blew up a garage behind the home while getting high several years ago. “He gets confrontational with neighbors, invites teens over there, and meanwhile the house has gone into serious decay,” said Daraio, echoing the laundry list of complaints she has heard from neighbors. “He’s in jail now, but that’s not solving the problem. For six months, they’ll be fine, but it’s a Band-Aid effect.”
Daraio has reached out to local elected officials for assistance, but thinks the city needs to go after Nasser for failing to maintain the home. “Maybe if the family starts getting violations, they’ll start paying more attention,” she said, adding that Nasser lives there alone and is supported by his relatives. “To give him free reign of a private house, I don’t think is the smartest thing. It’s become the neighbor’s problem, and it shouldn’t be that way. It’s a quiet block, and everyone is friendly with one another.”