NEW YORK – A Staten Island homeowner has dumped two truckloads of ripe horse manure on her own yard in an apparent escalation of a feud with the couple next door.
In case you’re wondering, that’s far more of the smelly stuff than anyone would need for gardening chores.
Octogenarians Gus and Lucille Midura say they’ve effectively been sentenced to house arrest. “We can’t even sit outside,” said Lucille Midura, 83, who has a screen house in her side yard. As for having friends over, that’s out of the question.
Two heaping dump trucks delivered the stuff during the past week.
One plopped its full load into the neighbor’s side yard – immediately adjacent to the Miduras’ yard.
The unpleasant surprise, say the couple, is part of an ongoing campaign of harassment they claim to have suffered for close to 25 years at the hands of Paula Bolli, 61. Points of contention have included fences and trees.
“She is the neighbor from hell,” said Jim Midura, the couple’s son, who runs a business on the bottom floor of his parents’ home.
There’s no phone listing for Bolli, whose padlocked gates on the perimeter fence and on the front porch prevented a reporter from knocking on her door for comment.
Neighbors said they were amazed to see Bolli using her bare hands and feet to spread the manure around her front yard.
“We will not put our kids in the front yard because of the smell and now the flies are coming around and we want to keep them off the babies,” said neighbor George Morano, who has a 17-month-old and a 9-month-old.
“It’s sickening,” said another neighbor, who wouldn’t give her name for fear of retribution. “All our windows have to stay closed and the AC stays on.”
On Monday, neighbors said, there was a worse surprise: rats.
“We are supposed to live with that?” Jim Midura said.
“No one knows if it’s legal,” Midura said. He said someone from the city government visited the site but couldn’t say whether any laws are being violated.
Midura, who grew up in the house his parents have owned for about five decades, said the friction began almost as soon as the Bollis moved in, about 25 years ago.
He said Paula Bolli lost no time informing the Miduras that their backyard fence was encroaching slightly onto her property. A survey proved her correct, and the Miduras fixed the fence.
Soon after, the couple noticed their neighbor attempting to chop the trunk of a tall willow tree growing next to her large blue-and-cream mansard-roofed home. Jim Midura said the Bollis ignored his warning, and sure enough, the trunk split and part of the tree took out the Miduras’ newly installed rain gutters and a canopy over their back door.
The Miduras also contend they have endured years of dogs barking in the Bollis’ yard, including two German shepherds that killed a cat.
Other neighbors complained of similar problems, and of bright lights shining in their windows at night.
A city Health Department spokesman was unable to provide information regarding inspections or complaints concerning the property.
A representative of the city Buildings Department said a complaint had been filed Sunday regarding an excavation making a neighbor’s fence unstable, but there was nothing on the manure issue.
The Bolli property has landmark status, according to the Buildings Department Web site.
RB END RICH/YATES
(Kiawana Rich and Maura Yates are news reporters for The Staten Island Advance. They may be reached at rich(at)siadvance.com and myates(at)siadvance.com.)