Williamsburg residents are ecstatic that the owners of a former mansion turned crackhouse have booted a group of vagrants that had turned their tree-lined block into an eternal nightmare.
The decrepit home at 59 Orient Ave., which hosted scenes from the underappreciated 2004 Jim Carrey film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” became a den of debauchery for drifters this spring.
Squatters, druggies and prostitutes passed through neighbors’ yards and kicked through a shaky plywood fence to get into the abandoned building, where they stripped the once grand edifice of valuable copper, set at least two fires, and terrified residents of the block — where the film’s director, Michel Gondry, coincidentally purchased a property earlier this year.
Police struggled to break up the criminal clubhouse because the building was unsafe to enter, and because they couldn’t get in touch with the owners.
“Someone needs to do something about this,” neighbor Nina Gilbert pleaded in August.
“I feel like my safety is really compromised. It used to be a really short and really pleasant walk back from the train — now I don’t feel safe,” she said.
That’s when The Brooklyn Paper started asking questions.
After a Paper reporter questioned builing owner Carlos Mery, he and his brother replaced the faulty plywood fence with a sturdier barrier, cleared out thick vegetation that gave trespassers cover for their illicit activities, better boarded up the first and second floors of the decaying mansion, and even fixed holes in the third floor and roof to keep vagrants out.
“The house still looks very unsettling, but at least it’s safe now,” said architect Adam Kehr, who lives next door. “The windows are all boarded up, the underbrush is all cleared away, and the fence is back up. The crackhouse problem was solved.”