Residents of Bayside, Queens live in fear, say Airbnb squatters are putting the neighborhood at risk

BAYSIDE, Queens (WABC) — The guns were on fire — but it wasn’t a war zone, it was Bayside, Queens this weekend.

The house on the corner of 38th Avenue and 209th Street had been occupied by squatters for about two years now. They have out-of-state license plates and some don’t even live in New York, they were just renting the place out on Airbnb, but locals angry over last weekend’s shooting have gathered in the neighborhood to demand a solution.

“There are probably a lot of violations in there. Shut down this place, that’s what we’re asking,” Sen. John Liu said.

Joseph Carollo, the previous owner, came forward, but he says he sold the place to the bank four years ago, and the property has since been foreclosed.

“I have nothing to do with these people here. I don’t want them here either, but I have no choice at this point,” Carollo said.

The home is in poor condition and New York City Department of Buildings inspectors were there Friday, but the DOB says they can’t leave the property unless there is imminent danger.

The bullets penetrated two cars on the block, one of them – including a child safety seat.

“It’s ridiculous – if it happened at any time during the day while they were setting the kid up, God knows,” said Bayside resident Stephen Markowski.

On Friday afternoon, an Airbnb spokesperson told Eyewitness News,
“We take this situation very seriously and have suspended the listing and canceled reservations.”

As for the bank that currently holds the mortgage, residents say it is not helping much. In fact, they called after the shooting last weekend and were stunned by the response.

“It’s the CEO, ‘duck and cover’, that’s what he told me,” Markowski added.

READ ALSO | NYPD launches quality of life initiative; critics fear a return to ‘broken windows’

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