Volume 22, Number 53 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 14 - 20, 2010

Lower East Side gas leak

About 60 tenants in three Lower East Side New York City Housing Authority projects who have been without gas for their kitchen stoves for several months finally got a hearing on May 5 when state Sen. Daniel Squadron stepped into the picture.

It took four months for gas to be restored to the 17 apartments in the C line of the building at 182 South St. in the Alfred Smith Houses where a leak on a gas coupling in the basement cut off service on Jan. 20. Tenants had to cook on hot plates supplied by NYCHA until May 7 when gas service was restored.

Tenants in the 26 apartments in the H line of the Two Bridges building at 286 South St. were without gas since March 23 after firefighters responded to a gas leak in a seventh floor apartment and shut down the riser. The housing authority said the service would be restored by May 14.

Tenants, whether in NYCHA housing or any other should not have to go for months without something as essential as cooking gas. Asking residents to live with often faulty hotplates as the only option for this long is unreasonable,” Squadron said.

A NYCHA spokesperson said that restoring gas service requires the authority to file for permits with the Department of Buildings for testing and repair. “Many times we have to file two permits with DOB, first to carry out testing and determine what needs repair and the second to make repairs or replace gas risers if necessary,” the spokesperson said. “Our highest priority is to restore service in a way that is safe and complete.”

A gas outage at Baruch Houses at 555 FDR Dr. affected 14 apartment in the A line of the building on March 10 because of a leak on the gas riser between two apartments on the seventh and eighth floors.

NYCHA filed a permit application for the Baruch building on May 7 and the target date to restore service is May 26, a spokesperson said.

At the Seward Park extension at 64-66 Essex St., Con Edison and firefighters responded to a call on April 25 about a gas leak in an apartment on the 23rd floor and removed a shut-off valve. It was the only apartment affected and the problem was corrected, but NYCHA is looking at the entire building to address any problems with gas service.

“We’re looking at possible compensation for tenants,” said Marquis Jenkins, public housing organizer with the neighborhood preservation group GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side).

“This was a dangerous situation. They had to replace stoves and some tenants didn’t know how to use hotplates. It took way too long and thanks to Dan Squadron for getting things started,” Jenkins said.

— Albert Amateau

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