Hillside Ave NEMET Nissan Dealership

Interior view of an abandoned car dealership with graffiti on the windows, a dilapidated wooden desk and chair in the center, surrounded by debris and fallen ceiling tiles, with the reversed sign 'NEMET' visible through the glass.

Exterior of an abandoned Nemet Nissan dealership with graffiti-covered windows, rusted metal panels, and overgrown weeds, set against an overcast sky.



While navigating the bustling Hillside Avenue, renowned for its commercial vibrancy, an unusual sight caught my eye – a forgotten fragment amidst the urban sprawl. There, standing in stark contrast to its lively surroundings, was an abandoned Nissan car dealership, its story silently screaming through the vibrant graffiti splashed across its glass windows. Graffiti, in its bold defiance, often signals abandonment in a city that seldom sleeps. Like a green light in the ceaseless flow of urban traffic, it beckons the curious and the adventurous. This day, it called to me.


Approaching the property, the exterior of the dealership was a canvas of urban artistry, yet it hinted at a deeper solitude. Beyond the graffiti-adorned walls and windows, the building seemed untouched, a lone island in a sea of city life. Slipping into the property, an unexpected sound broke the stillness – the laughter and chatter of children playing. Only then did I realize the proximity of a school, creating a delicate situation. My presence, a solitary figure weaving through the shadows, could be misconstrued as menacing. Fortune, however, was on my side as I quickly navigated the boundaries, avoiding unwanted attention.



The desolate interior of an abandoned automotive repair shop, with car maintenance equipment and debris scattered on the grimy floor.



Venturing inside, I found myself in what was once the dealership's maintenance shop. Here, amidst the relics of its past – compression tanks, machinery, and scattered boxes filled with forgotten parts – the building whispered its history. The journey continued to the heart of the dealership. The front entrance, once barred by plywood, was now open, revealing the decaying grandeur within. Stepping inside, I was greeted by a pungent, damp odor – the scent of decay. It emanated from the fallen ceiling tiles, now a softened, wet mass on the floor, releasing their chemical bouquet as they succumbed to time.


An overgrown and empty parking lot with a row of vacated car lifts, adjacent to a small house and a larger building, symbolizing urban neglect.

A rusty oil tank labeled 'Lube Cube' sits abandoned next to a graffiti-sprayed garage door, surrounded by overgrowth and urban detritus.



In this clandestine exploration, I quickly documented my surroundings, acutely aware of the thin line between discovery and trespass. Each moment inside held the risk of being spotted, of stirring the alarm of passersby who might mistake my curiosity for criminal intent. This foray into the forgotten dealership on Hillside Avenue was more than a mere exploration. In an unexpected twist within the deserted halls of the once-thriving Nemet Nissan dealership, a discovery bordering on the incredulous lay before me. Amidst the graffiti-laden walls and the office remnants of a bustling car showroom, I stumbled upon a concerning oversight – a veritable goldmine for any potential arsonist or identity thief.


Chaos reigns in the interior of a devastated showroom, with collapsed ceilings, scattered documents, and an overturned promotional display.

The shattered glass of a door leading to a bathroom in a derelict car dealership, amidst the chaos of abandoned promotional stands and office equipment.



In a corner, where once the hustle of sales negotiations filled the air, sat boxes and boxes of paperwork, a blatant mishandling of sensitive personal information. These documents, detailing transactions of purchases, leases, and finances, lay scattered and unguarded. Names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and even social security numbers of countless customers were exposed in this haphazard archive. It was a staggering breach of privacy, a careless abandonment of responsibility. This site was not just alarming; it was a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against identity theft in our digitally intertwined world. The dealership’s last act, it seemed, was to leave behind a treasure trove for any unscrupulous individual, making it an alarming testament to the negligence of data protection.



Abandoned black Kia Soul with missing tires and open doors, surrounded by lush greenery in an overgrown lot, with a discarded microwave on the ground.



But the narrative of abandonment didn’t end there. Outside, under a small, overgrown tree, a Kia Soul sat in a lonely vigil. This black vehicle, with its interior exposed to the elements, and tires stripped away, stood as the last automotive sentinel on the property. It was a peculiar sight – the car was bereft of its tires, stabilized ironically by used tires itself, yet its interior and electronics remained intact as if left in haste or interrupted mid-act. Across the street, a mirror image presented itself – another car dealership, equally forsaken. Peering through its expansive glass windows, I observed a vast, empty space, echoing the desolation of its counterpart. These twin relics of Hillside Avenue, in their silent decay, spoke volumes of the rapid transformations in urban landscapes and the stories left behind in their wake.


In a dramatic and unsettling turn of events, within less than twenty-four hours,  succumbed to a tragic fate. Fire engulfed the forsaken structure, a vivid and violent end to what was already a story of neglect, management owner irresponsibility, and decay. This blaze wasn't the first to ravage the dealership. Media reports revealed that firefighters, initially responding to an unrelated call, witnessed the building consumed by flames. This was the second fire at this location within a year, the first occurring in March 2023. However, during my exploration, there were no discernible traces of the previous fire, neither in sight nor scent.


A discarded and weathered credit application form among rubble and debris on the floor, with personal information redacted for privacy.



Investigations pointed to a disconcerting cause – piles of credit application paperwork, carelessly left behind, which I had stumbled upon during my visit again. This means someone had dumped even more credit paperwork after the previous fire unconcerned with people's identifiable and personal credit information unsecured and undestroyed. These documents, laden with personal information, not only represented a severe breach of privacy but now served as the primary fuel for this devastating fire. It was a grim confirmation of my fears, a realization that negligence can have dangerous, even destructive, consequences.


The building initially thought to be a single-story structure, was reported to be two-storied. Freedom News TV highlighted that the fire had obliterated the second floor, which seemingly had been cleared and cleaned post the first blaze. Evidence suggested that paperwork, visible from an open window, was the ignition point for both fires, painting a troubling picture of deliberate arson. The aftermath of these fires opens a new chapter in the story of this location. With the building now reduced to ashes and memories, there emerges a potential for transformation. In a city where affordable housing is a pressing need, this plot of land on Hillside Avenue, once a symbol of commercial activity and later of abandonment and disaster, could be repurposed to meet a vital community requirement.


Overgrown vegetation encroaching on the cracked pavement of an empty lot with a graffiti-tagged wall, with urban buildings in the background.


Unsavory and Deceptive Business Practices



In the heart of Queens, a tale of consumer advocacy unfolds, involving a family of auto dealerships, including Nemet Hyundai, Nemet Kia, Nemet Nissan, and Nemet Motors. This saga, emblematic of David and Goliath, reached a crescendo with the dealerships agreeing to a significant settlement, marking a victory for customers who felt deceived by their sales strategies.


A forlorn office space in disarray, with overturned chairs, scattered documents, and ceiling tiles hanging precariously overhead.

Exterior of an abandoned Nemet Nissan dealership with graffiti-covered windows, rusted metal panels, and overgrown weeds, set against an overcast sky.



The crux of the issue lay in numerous customer complaints, painting a picture of unexpected charges, misleading sales tactics, and a series of deceptive actions that left many feeling swindled and betrayed. The investigation, meticulous and thorough, unearthed startling practices: undisclosed aftermarket items slipped into consumer contracts without consent, often disguised as lender requirements. Customers found themselves trapped in a waiting game, spending extended periods at the dealership, only to be rushed into signing contracts without fully grasping the terms.


The dealerships' promises of refinancing consumer loans at specific rates and dates were hollow, leaving customers with false hope. More insidiously, credit applications were manipulated, with incomes inflated, ensnaring some consumers in loans they were ill-equipped to repay. A poignant example is Brooklyn resident Shauntel Wilson, whose experience with a Nemet dealership turned sour when her income was overstated by a staggering $15,000 annually, and her contract was burdened with $2,600 of undisclosed aftermarket products.


In response to these findings, the Nemet dealerships agreed to a substantial settlement. They repaid $108,231 to 22 identified customers, a sum that may seem modest but represents a significant acknowledgment of their missteps. Furthermore, the dealerships contributed $56,250 in fines to the state of New York, a testament to the seriousness of their actions.


However, the settlement extends beyond monetary compensation. It signifies a shift in business practices. The management at Nemet dealerships had committed to overhauling their employee training programs, embedding ethical sales tactics at the forefront. Additionally, an external monitor was appointed for a minimum of three years, a sentinel to ensure that the terms of the agreement are upheld and that such deceptive practices are relegated to the past.


Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood, at the time of the deceptive practices, at the helm of this pursuit of justice, underscored New York's unwavering stance against consumer deception. Her words echoed the sentiment of accountability and restitution, highlighting the settlement as not just a financial agreement but as a beacon of consumer rights and ethical business practices.






100-Year-Old Family Auto Dealer Group Folds


Nemet Motors, later known as Nemet Chevrolet LTD, stood as a testament to over a century of automotive history. A business with deep roots, it began its journey in 1916, weaving itself into the fabric of the local community through a century of wheeling and dealing in the world of automobiles. Yet, in a twist of fate, this iconic dealership, a hallmark of Queens' streets, shuttered its doors in March 2020, leaving behind a legacy etched in the annals of the auto industry.


The story of Nemet Motors is not just about cars; it's a narrative of family, enterprise, and a relentless spirit of advocacy. The dealership, part of a family-owned conglomerate that included Nemet Nissan, Nemet Hyundai, Nemet Volvo, and Nemet Kia, was more than a business. It was a symbol of the American dream, flourishing under the stewardship of the indomitable Tom Nemet.


Tom Nemet, a titan in the auto industry, passed away on July 4, 2010, leaving behind a legacy rich in passion and influence. His fervor for the auto industry was not confined to the showroom floors of his dealerships. Nemet's reach extended to the corridors of power in federal politics, where he championed the interests of the auto industry with unmatched zeal.


In the 1980s, Nemet's vision led him to establish Auto Dealers and Drivers for Free Trade, an initiative that underscored his commitment to a globalized, barrier-free automotive sector. His leadership was further recognized when he chaired the American International Automobile Dealers Association in 1984. Nemet's advocacy was pivotal, primarily centered around promoting free trade and vehemently opposing any legislation or regulations that threatened to impose import taxes on vehicles. His efforts were critical in shaping the landscape of the imported auto industry, earning him accolades and recognition.


Scott Perlstein, a contemporary in the auto industry, underscored Tom Nemet's significance, highlighting his role as a linchpin in the success of the imported auto sector. Under Nemet's visionary leadership, Nemet Motors transformed from a local dealership into The Nemet Auto Group, a beacon of automotive excellence in Jamaica, Queens.


The closure of Nemet Motors, leaving a vacant lot in its wake, marks the end of an era. The dealership, having served the public for 104 years, is a story of resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication to the community and the broader auto industry. As the lights dimmed on the once-thriving showroom, the legacy of Tom Nemet and the family-owned empire remains a significant chapter in the history of Queens and the American automotive narrative.





Sources:

1. Davenport, Emily, "Queens car dealerships reach settlement for their fraudulent business practices", June 18, 2018, QNS

2. Lee, Jennifer, "Buying a Used Car? Details Hold Key, in Any Language", February 7, 2008, NYTimes

3. "Firefighters tackle flames shooting from Briarwood abandoned car dealership", EyeWitnessNews ABC

4. "Queens Car Dealership ABLAZE as Fire Reaches 3-Alarm", March 30, 2022, FNTV

5. "Nemet Kia of Queens closed with no notice to customers", March 20, 2020, Kia Forums


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