Conflict & Tragedy
How long will bitter blast last? NYC residents suffer frigid temperatures without heat
Two pairs of tights under pants, layers on top, coat, scarf, hats, gloves, massive sunglasses, and I still felt the frigid cold. The crisp, angry wind, defiant and bent on getting to my bones, tried in earnest to penetrate my many layers of clothing like a passionate and impatient lover.
But this was no welcomed rendezvous, and many New Yorkers will agree with me that there wasn’t anything romantic about being outside on Wednesday. The cold blast arrived on Tuesday and seems determined to stay. Most travelling in the bitter cold are bundled up like Eskimos or trekkers to the North Pole.
It is so cold that the Question of the Day at local News 12 was, “Are you changing your commute because of the cold?” and the answers available were “Yes,” “No,” and “I’m staying home.”
The temperature of 16 degrees felt more like 6 degrees below zero because of the wind chill, and some NYC residents are being forced to live in homes where the landlords have neglected to provide adequate heat and hot water. One such apartment building is 721 Van Siclen Avenue, in the East New York neighborhood in Brooklyn, where tenants have suffered through the bitter cold without heat for weeks.
Inside the building it is as cold or even colder than outside, and the super claims that management does not have enough money to purchase oil to heat the apartments. The building is a co-op owned by residents and managed by Francis Evadine, herself a resident, but News 12 could not get a hold of her despite knocking on her residence several times to ask her some questions.
Questions like, why isn’t there heat in the building, especially with these dangerously low temperatures? The super also claims there isn’t any money to heat the building because some of the tenants haven’t been paying their rent. The residents say they didn’t pay because the building is in dire need of repairs.
I have heard some excuses from slumlord landlords before, but this one goes down as one of the most outrageous. Tenants are angry and those who pay their rent say this is unfair to them, which indeed it is. They are punishing everyone for what some have done. They have to bundle up under many layers of clothing to stay inside their homes, and some have resorted to putting on their stove and ovens to keep warm. This can be very dangerous, but residents say they do not have a choice.
Residents have been complaining to the city by calling 311, but they have not gotten any help. With this kind of television exposure, let’s hope the city does something for the cold folks at 721 Van Siclen. New Yorkers have suffered enough from Superstorm Sandy and should not have to be crushed by cold in their homes.
Many victims of the devastating storm have not recovered and are still living in temporary shelters. The storm racked up billions of dollars in damages and destroyed thousands of homes, with a reported 140 people killed in New York alone.
To make matters worse, the relentless cold weather will continue into Thursday and Friday, with morning temperatures of about 12 degrees that will likely feel more like zero or below-zero.
The city has provided heating centers in all five boroughs for those who do not have heat in their homes. Go to NYC.gov for locations and hours of operation.