Friday, November 24, 2006

100 Families Won't Be Having Turkey At Home

More than a hundred families in a Washington Heights building may not be able to cook Thanksgiving dinner in their homes, because of a broken gas main they say the landlord isn't fixing fast enough. NY1's Solana Pyne filed the following report. “One of the things that you look forward to is just smelling all the foods, you know, during the holidays. You're not going to get that here this year,” said building resident Ramon Breton. That's because residents of these buildings can't cook this Thanksgiving. They've been without gas since Con Edison showed up about a month ago. “A tenant complained that there seemed to be a leak of gas. They checked in the basement and they found there was a leak in one of the pipes. They shut down the gas for the whole building,” said building manager Juan Lopez. The Pinnacle group, which owns and manages the building, called in a plumber to check out the buildings' gas pipes. They all failed integrity tests and are being replaced. Meanwhile, heat and hot water are running off a backup boiler, but tenants can't use their stove or oven. “We have to be buying food out there in the street every day,” said Elizabeth Valdez. “And nobody's going to reimburse all that money that we're spending there.” “This is one of those emergencies that they should pay overtime and either have more crews, or have weekend workers. I don't see that,” adds Ramon. Several residents said the same thing: that crews have not been working Saturdays or Sundays, but the building manager says they're wrong. “I have them working seven days a week. They're here at seven in the morning. They're still here. Usually they wait for tenants to come back from work and they'll keep working,” said Lopez. Lopez says six more workers will start this week. But in Ramon Breton's apartment, the work that has been done has created its own problems. “We've had more mice than ever. We're averaging about three a day,” said Ramon. To try to make up for all the inconvenience, Pinnacle has ordered Thanksgiving dinners for residents. “We catered with Amy Ruth to provide 130 meals for the tenants. So we're doing four meals per apartment and we're going to serve them in the lobby on Wednesday,” said Richard Harley, Community Affairs for Pinnacle. But everyone who spoke with NY1 said they'll be eating elsewhere on Thursday. The building manager says gas will be restored piecemeal as the pipes in particular parts of the building are replaced. If it stays on schedule, he says the work will be done by Christmas. Residents say they're resigned to hoping management's right and that they'll at least be able to cook Christmas dinner at home. – Solana Pyne

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