NYC couple compares neighbor’s construction project to ‘Detroit’


An Upper East Side couple is crying the Motown Blues over a neighbor’s construction project they say has transformed their posh block into something “more reminiscent of Detroit in the 1980s.”

Writer Jill Kargman — who satirized rich New York City women on her show “Odd Mom Out” — and her ad exec husband, Harry, are living next to the stalled renovation project on East 62nd Street, which has become a magnet for “homeless people, garbage, rodents, dirt and debris,” according to the $250,000 lawsuit filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court by the LLC through which the Kargmans own their home.

The couple’s $9 million abode is located on a block of pretty brownstones and townhouses that bears no resemblance to the abandonment and decay that ravaged the Motor City.

Making matters worse, the Kargmans’ own home improvement — a planned “state-of-the-art” glass conservatory over the terrace that adjoins their bedroom — is on hold until the work on neighbor Michael Mass’ property is finished, court papers say.

The plan by Mass, a dentist, to extend his home and enlarge a wall abutting the Kargman townhouse has to be done first, the suit contends.

Real estate on East 62nd Street is under construction on the Upper East Side.
Kargman cannot start her own house renovation until her neighbor’s project is complete, according to court papers.
Helayne Seidman

In happier times, Jill Kargman exuded pride in her castle, flaunting the bedroom — and her Oscar de la Renta canopy bed — in a 2017 video for New York’ magazine in which she gives a tour of the chic four-story home. She displayed a built-in pizza oven in the kitchen and gushed that she loved her downstairs hallway wallpaper so much that it “physically turns me on.”

Kargman rhapsodized about the 4,600-square foot townhouse, which the couple bought in 2014, and vowed she’d never leave it.

Harry Kargman and Jill Kargman attend the Dom Perignon & Born This Way Foundation host Charity Dinner on World Kindness Day at Museum of Modern Art on November 13, 2021 in New York City.
Harry and Jill Kargman bought their 4,600-square foot property on the Upper East Side in 2014.
Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

“They’re going to put me in a coffin outside on Third Avenue,” she said.

But the Kargmans contend they’ve been deprived of the “enjoyment” of their property because of the project Mass began in 2016 to extend his townhouse in the back and add two additional stories to be used as his home, court papers say. Mass’ dental office is in the basement and cellar levels.

The suit says that work on the Mass basement damaged the Kargman home. They agreed to a 2019 settlement with Mass for $115,094 and they forged a licensing agreement with him that would allow for the work on his townhouse to go forward providing they had the right to install a decorative trellis along the new addition.

But the work never began, and the suit claims money promised under the agreement wasn’t paid.

The city Building Department issued a stop-work order on the project earlier this year after a contractor pulled out of the job. Mass’ townhouse is partially blocked by a green construction fence, but he still operates his dental practice out of the building.

“The claims asserted by the Kargmans are meritless,” said Joshua Oberman, a lawyer for Mass.

The Kargmans also sued their neighbor on the other side in 2016, griping about the renovation of that townhouse and claiming that a newly erected fifth story encroached onto their property by up to 10 inches, court papers say. The suit was discontinued in 2018.

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