Readers Write: Mr. Rogers still needed in Old Westbury


How things have changed in Old Westbury.

In 2014 you reported that neighbors were objecting to a Damien Hirst sculpture on an adjoining resident’s property. The village supported the neighbors and insisted that the statue be moved and screened so they would not have to see the work of art that offended them.
Now, in 2020, even complaints about a hateful sign erected by one resident to harm a neighbor cannot get the village to act. The sign’ was erected to threaten the financial security of an elderly couple, longtime residents of the Village, who have owned and maintained the legal rental property for 40 years.

The house, at 53 Clock Tower Lane East, is an original cottage from the turn-of-the-century E. D. Morgan estate. It has been a rental for more than 60 years, beginning long before the current owners purchased the property from the Morgan family and continued to offer it for rent.

No tenant has ever caused a complaint from a neighbor, and the most recent tenants lived peacefully in the house for the past 10 years before they retired to Florida. Now it is again available for rent.
This year, however, a neighbor nailed a large, threatening hand-painted sign to a tree near the property {“NO TENANTS WANTED,” see photo}.

Anyone coming to view the house can see the sign, and prospective tenants have said that they would be afraid to rent where they are not wanted.

Although the sign is offensive and violates restrictions in the Village Code, no official has acted on requests to have it removed. In fact, a village trustee living on this very road, who passes it every day, ignores and (by his silence) supports the unneighborly message the sign proclaims.
Unfortunately, it seems that Mr. Rogers’ message, “Won’t you be my neighbor,” was not heard by some in Old Westbury.

Myron St. Wecker

Old Westbury


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