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73 year old man to be evicted from home

Posted by Harry Wilkins on December 30, 1996 at 00:37:34:

I thought it would be appropriate to send you the following information
about Marty Schickler and ask for your comments, your advice and possibly
any support you might be able to give him.

Marty Schickler has been a resident of the 79th Street Boat Basin in
New York City for about 35 years. He’s 73 years old and somewhat of
a character lives in a 1955 Chris Craft Constellation that is very
well maintained and he has a Captain’s license for 100 tons. While he
doesn’t cruse a lot today, he’s taken his boat up and down the East
Coast from New York to Florida many times. He’s also taken other
trips, like hitch hiking across Africa and South America. He lives
with his dog Popeye, a registered therapy dog and both Marty and
dog regularly visit an old age home to help cheer up the residents.
He’s a free spirit, a little different perhaps but he doesn’t go out
of his way to either impose on other people or create trouble.

The NYC Parks Department is evicting Marty from his home and he has
until January 13th to leave. We simply can’t let this happen.
Marty should not lose the only home he’s had for 30+ years, he’s
done nothing that approaches that kind of punishment. This is a
clear injustice.

In an opinion handed down by Justice Shorter in about 1980 in a
lawsuit between the 79th Street boatowners and the City, Justice
Shorter found in a very poetic order that the boats at the West
79th Street Boat Basin formed a community that was an intricate
part of the upper West Side of New York and that the city SHOULD
NOT shut down the marina. Yet, over the past five or so years,
the number of boats at the marina have dropped from 140 to 70.
Cleaned out by the Deparetment of Parks. If your in the area,
go to the road over the rotunda and look down on the marina and
all the empty slips. This is no accident.

According to lawyers who have spoken to Parks, Marty Schickler is
being thrown out because he’s dog runs loose, he left some batteries
on the dock and he’s a troublemaker.

The reality is:

Last Winter (November 1995) Marty wanted to keep his boat on A
dock but was forced to move to C dock. Parks insisted that they
wanted to move his boat off A so that the slip could be used for
transients. (Which it isn't)

Marty was put into a slip on C dock where there had been a piling
that was broken off at the mud line by the inexperienced contractors
hired to rebuild the dock. However, Parks assured boat owners that
the piling had been removed, and the dockmaster himself insisting
that he had inspected the slips to assure their safety.

About a month ago (November), there was a low low tide and Marty’s
boat sat down on the piling which stove in the hull below the water
line making an impression about the size of a basketball and cracking
two ribs of the boat. Marty came back from Broadway to find two feet
of water in his bedroom.

The Marina’s gas pumps were called for but (as usual), didn’t work.
However, the boat was kept afloat using electric pumps supplied by
various neighboring boat owners.

In the emergency repair of the boat, a diver was employed to patch
the hull under water. Additionally, he certified in writing that
it was a piling under the mud that caused the damage.

Marty, working with his insurance company, determined that the best
course of action to save his boat was to un-winterize his engines
and run the boat up to a shipyard in where there was an experienced
carpenter that could sister the frames and restore the double
planked wooden hull.

As his batteries had been submerged during the almost sinking, Marty called his
supplier and had a new set delivered and asked that the old batteries be taken
away. This was an emergency situation, caused by the incompetence of the
Department of Parks, and Marty left the marina with an accompanying tow boat to
take the boat to the shipyard leaving the old batteries on the dock along with an
un-inflated Zodiac.

Clearly, at a minimum, Marty’s insurance company is going to look for
reimbursement from the City and Marty has the option to sue for damages.
Its in Parks best interest to make him look foolish..

(12/10/96) During the course of asking the Park Director how Parks was
going to resolve the problem (Marty clearly could not return to the
slip he had been in), he was told that the Attorney for Parks had sent
him a letter telling him that he could not return to the marina. The
letter was mailed to his PO Box in NYC with the full knowledge that
he couldn’t possibly receive it (because he was in the shipyard).

(12/12/96) Before Marty returned to the marina, both the President
of the boat owners association and another friend of Marties had
conversations with the Park Director who advised them that this
would be worked out.

(12/14/96) The night Marty pulled into the marina with his boat
he was told by the marina employee on duty that any problems would
be resolved in the morning. Marty was not told to leave the marina.

(12/15/96) The next morning, a consortium of 10 cops from Parks,
the 20th Precinct and Harbor Patrol boarded Marty’s boat and took
him away in handcuffs. He was given a ticket for criminal trespassing
and told that he could only return to his boat for one hour. He was
told that his boat was impounded and that it would be removed from
the marina on Friday.

Marty was released in hours on his own recognizance but was literally
made homeless. His boat and belongings were (illegally) impounded by
Parks. His dog was on the boat. He had no where to go and very few
people (if any) at the marina were doing anything about it (most of
them didn’t know).

(12/18/96)In desperation and under this extreme duress, he signed an
agreement with Parks who allowed him to return to his boat, but
committed him to vacate the marina within 3 weeks. Merry Christmas

(12/18/96) On Thursday Parks police passed out a notice to many
boaters entering the marina which said ‘let this be a lesson to you‘
and ‘we’re raising the rent in the Garage ‘ and ‘ we’re going to have
some additional rules ‘.

(12/18/96) Finally, on Thursday night, the Boat Owners Association's
Board me and unanimously agreed to act on Marty’s behalf and has
employed an attorney to contact Parks.


The real issue here is that Parks, if allowed to cancel this contract
for no valid reason, can and will cancel anyone’s contract anytime
they rub Parks the wrong way or the convenient opportunity arises
that will let them clean out another slip.

Marty is simply one more person on the list that Parks has taken the
opportunity to evict.

One doesn’t have to be a mind reader to know that there is something
that everyone’s done that can put them on Parks eviction list:
This letter, a dog, a child, a disagreement with an employee, no
engines, late rent, something left on the dock. an umbrella on the
back deck, a dingy in the wrong place, the boat’s a housebarge,
the toilets, the heat, the dockbox (or dockboxes), you’re a
Democrat, you’re a Republican, your on A dock, your on E dock, etc.

Marty Shicklers can be contacted (until Jan 13th) at:

Marty Schickler
West 79th Street Boat Basin
New York, NY 10024
(212) 362-3998

Jane Clegg is the President of HHPA (the Boat Owners Assn) and is out
town until January 1st. In the interim, please contact Gary Oppenheimer
On behalf of the marina residents:

Gary Oppenheimer
West 79th Street Boat Basin
New York, NY 10024
(212) 724-9785

We hope that you will view this as the injustice it is and support us
in our effort to keep Marty in his home.

Harry Wilkins
West 79th Street Boat Basin
New York, NY 10024
(212) 481-5504 (office)
(212) 874-5177 (boat)
Marty's neighbor 18 years
President West Side Federation of Neighborhood & Block Association
(W 64th - 110, NYC)

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