Business owner claims city wants him to pay for repair damage caused by MTA

A 3,000-square-foot corner has Louis Gellman, the owner of Hilna Tires, enraged.

Cracked in numerous spots, the sidewalk—located at Stillwell Avenue and 86th Street outside the auto repair shop—need a make-over thanks to vibrations from the D train rumbling above and careless workers dropping heavy materials while repairing the tracks, according to Gellman.

But Gellman says that the city is making him shell out tens of thousands of dollars for the repairs. Indeed, since he says the problem was caused by the city’s trains, Gellman stresses that he feels the city should be liable for the damage caused by the MTA’s faulty infrastructure, not him.

“It’s a real scam,” Gellman said, “They know that we can’t afford lawyers.

“I don’t have $30,000 to fix the streets,” Gellman went on, explaining that he has reached out to the community board, elected officials and the New York City Department of Transportation, all to no avail.

“I called 3-1-1 and left a message with DOT, hoping that it’ll go to somebody, but they never called me back,” Gellman recalled, adding that he’s been told that if he doesn’t pay for the repairs, the costs will be attached to his real estate taxes.

“I admit some of it is my fault,” Gellman said about the cracks, but he claims that he is not responsible for the majority of the fissures, which he contends came from “dropping pipes onto the sidewalks,” when the tracks were being repaired above ground.

“This is abuse of the middle class,” Gellman fumed. “My concerns have gotten lost in a basket because I don’t have the power of Donald Trump.”

Gellman also asserted that MTA officials who have tested the noise level at the intersection admitted that the decibel levels—95-100 decibels in his area— are higher than what they should be, and over the city limit.

“That’s enough frustration,” he noted.

By press time, DOT had not responded to a request for comment.

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