Vol. III, 1954 – 1955


By Pat Cleary

The Concordian
West Islip L.I., N.Y.
November, 1954

     Having received several complaints about the unused foundations left on North Dyer Avenue by builders Irwin Chess and Nat Siegel, the CONCORDIAN spent several days this month investigating the situation. Although we obtained a good deal of concrete information, results were something else again.

    There are 12 of the vacant foundations, poured more than a year ago. Each on has 100 rusted reinforcing rods on the outside, over 30 on the inside. According to people living across the street, the pits hold water for from two to three days after a heavy rain.

    About eight feet deep, the foundations are now covered with rubble, rotted woods, tin cans and broken glass. As nearby residents have pointed out, this, plus the reinforcing rods, plus the community dumping ground behind the foundations, constitute six of the nine most common death traps listed by the Institute for Safer Living.


       Although the empty lots bordering the foundations have been used by residents to dump grass clippings and other, more dangerous kinds of trash, they ave been tacitly shown the way by builder Siegel whose workmen have used the area as a common dump for building material of all kinds.

      In the very recent past, after an interview with this reporter, an attempt was made by the workmen to burn the trash. Unfortunately, no responsible person stood by to guard the fire and, but for the quick thinking of a Newsday carrier, a small boy might have been seriously burned. On Monday, October 18, I interviewed Mr. Siegel about the foundations, telling him that the CONCORDIAN proposed to do a story and that we wanted his point of view.

Mr. Siegel said they were not condemned foundations.

“Well, do you intend to do anything about them soon?”

Mr. Siegel said he would build on them in the Spring.

“Until then you’ll do nothing?”

Mr. Siegel said he would not, and wanted to add that the people of Concord Village were using the property for a dumping ground.

“I know that and we are going to mention it in our story. I have some pictures here I’d like you to see.”

Mr. Siegel said he didn’t have to see them, he knew what they were. He asked what the people wanted him to do.

“Why not put up a fence or a guard on the property?”

Mr. Siegel said that putting up a guard would invite disaster because the children would be climbing all over them and falling through.

“I was referring to a human guard, not a wooden one.”

Mr. Siegel said that in any case he had troupble keeping the children away from the houses under construction.

Mr. Siegel said that in any case he had trouble keeping the children awy from the houses under construction.

“That definitely is a parent’s duty, I agree. But you have been maintaining the attractive nuisance for two years.”

Mr. Siegel said he had no comment.

“Then you are not going to do anything until next Spring?”

Mr. Siegel said that was correct. It might be February, but probably not until next Spring.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Siegal’s workmen appeared on the lots and set fire to the building trash that had been left there by them. They did not dig a hole for the fire, and once it had started, they left it and did not return. It smoldered for several hours, attracting a good many neighborhood children. One of them, six-year-old Lennord Wojono of 623 North Chicot, wandering a bit too close. In an instant, his trousers caught fire and he began screaming. A Newsday carrier, John Cody, 14, of Alwick Avenue, heard the cries and ran to help. He smothered the flames with Lennord’s sweater and took the boy home. John’s quick work saved what might have been a major tragedy.

The CONCORDIAN contacted the Department of Health, the Fire Department and the Police Department but in each instance was told that little action could be taken at this time.