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More than 100 residents backed by local politicians protested on April 22 against watch manufacturer E. Gluck Corporation’s construction of a 35-foot wall, which is so high some said it blocks sunlight after certain hours. Community members fear it will hurt property values and their quality of life.
“It looks like the cross between a concentration camp and ‘The Wall’ from ‘Game of Thrones,’” said Joan Arnowitz, a resident who lives down the block from the wall. “I have an $800,000 house that’s now going to go down in value.”
E. Gluck is moving this year into the empty lot at 60-15 Little Neck Parkway, the former site of electrical wiring company Leviton. Residents and politicians were initially in support of the move, believing that E. Gluck, like Leviton, would be a quiet neighbor based on the wares it manufactures.
The company promised to put a one-story warehouse on the site, according to politicians. But residents woke up recently to find the towering dark gray wall, which sits on a hill that is about 10 feet high off the curb, extending nearly halfway through the block. It appears to be the outside wall of the warehouse under construction.
“We want to be a good, respectful neighbor, and we believe our use of the property is preferable to alternative uses allowed for this site, such as a distribution center that would significantly increase truck traffic on local streets,” the company said in a statement. “We have heard the concerns expressed by elected officials and members of the public, and we are currently evaluating our options based on their feedback.”
State Sen. Tony Avella asked the Department of Buildings (DOB) for a Stop Work Order for the property. He and other elected officials also hope to take away about $13 million in tax breaks that the company was granted from the city for the next 25 years.
“They lied to us. They told us that this would be a small project,” Avella said. “They made us an enemy. They didn’t have to do this, but they made an enemy out of us and we are going to fight for the community. This has to come down.”
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