For more than a week, hundreds of public housing tenants — mostly ailing or elderly — have been trapped inside their upper-floor apartments, waiting in vain for the return of elevators, lights, heat and water.
They say they’ve yet to get help from NYCHA and, instead, are relying on a steady stream of volunteers for food, water and a glimmer of hope.
“Nobody from management has come up here,” said Jose Reyes, 57, who has left his 13th-floor apartment in the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn only once over the last week. “It’s incredible that in the greatest nation in the world, this is happening here.”
As of Tuesday – eight days after Hurricane Sandy battered New York – 21,000 NYCHA residents in 114 buildings across Brooklyn, Queens and lower Manhattan were still without power.
In these developments, there are residents who are sick or too frail to negotiate the pitch-dark staircases that now serve as the only means of entry or exit until elevators are restored. Living high above the city, they survive without running water, and with toilets that don’t flush, refrigerators that don’t function and heat that seems to diminish each day as temperatures dip.
Reyes, who weighs 350 pounds, has osteoporosis and a weakened ankle from surgery that won’t allow him to schlep up and down 13 stories.
A Daily News reporter on Tuesday helped two of Reyes’ sisters, Marelnand Enily, drag a shopping cart full of water jugs and canned food up the unlucky 13 flights in total darkness. Urine pooled on one floor, and the load seemed heavier each step up.
Reyes fled his apartment on Sunday, and Sandy reached the first-floor windows of Red Hook West the following day. When Reyes returned two days later, fetid black water filled the basement of his building.
Since then, he’s remained in his cramped one-bedroom with only one two-hour break.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
114 NYCHA Buildings STILL Without Power
Eight days after Sandy and 21,000 residents in 114 NYCHA buildings remain without power: