Exiting Eyesore Master

Peter Saltini was a galling oddity amidst the stylish dynamics of Park Slope, Brooklyn. He either possessed an unfathomably sardonic sense of humor or was unfathomably off his rocker. And even though many of my best friends (and neighbors here in Park Slope) possess similarly unfathomable talents, there’s usually a redemptive method to their humor and madness…in Saltini’s case, redemption was replaced with damnation.

Nonetheless, Saltini could have been as wild and crazy as the wildest and craziest loon, as viciously antisocial as the betrayed Timon of Athens, if he had properly maintained his building at 174 Garfield Place; thus, displaying an obligatory respect for his neighbors as well as for  himself. Instead, many years ago the marvelous Saltini skipped town and moved to an undisclosed location in upstate New York, allowing his house to disintegrate: an eyesore of abandonment.

For decades, Park Slopers cajoled and besieged Saltini with requests and demands to sell his once-immaculate brownstone that, year after year, was crumbling apart…to no avail. In fact, the more his building amassed dozens of building code and safety hazard violations, the more adamant he became in refusing to sell.

“Let them complain,” Saltini, an upstate resident, said in April. “I’ve been a big contribution [!] to the quality of life [!] on that block and all I get from the neighbors is grief. I’ve been here since 1969 and dealing with these people has made my skin thick.”

Then, just when hope seemed to be forever lost, not only hope but a miracle emerged: Saltini had finally given up and sold the property.

Neighbors don’t know why owner Peter Saltini gave up and sold the beleaguered building at 174 Garfield Pl. — which garnered plenty of attention from angry neighbors and councilmen due to its dozens of building code violations and safety hazards — but they don’t seem to care, now that Saltini’s realtor says that the new owner is “involved in the community” and wants to fix the place up.

But you just have to love Saltini’s claim that he’s “been a big contribution to the quality of life on that block.” If his idea of a contribution is an eyesore such as 174 Garfield Pl., this screwball would be apt to view the like of Beverly Hills as a ghetto.

It makes you wonder: What does Saltini plan on “contributing” to his upstate NY neighborhood?

(originally posted: 07/30/10)