Electricity Finally Restored to All of Knickerbocker Village
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More than two week after Sandy struck, the whole of Knickerbocker Village can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Electricity was restored to 100% of the units in the affordable housing complex yesterday at 4pm. Residents will not be required to pay rent for days in which they did not have “full essential services.” Below is the full press release from management:
Working with more than 100 on-site contractors and professionals assembled from throughout the region, and in daily consultation with elected officials who represent Chinatown residents, management at Knickerbocker Village restored power to all residential units today.
The last of the residents had their electricity restored at approximately 4 p.m., management said – the culmination of an arduous, painstaking process that involved rebuilding circuits and other equipment destroyed by the East River salt water that engulfed the neighborhood. In recent days, electricity had been restored to an increasing number of residents of the 12-building, 1,600-unit complex between Monroe and Cherry streets.
“The news is improving, and the rate of recovery is quickening,” said James Simmons, Vice President of Knickerbocker Village, Inc. “The progress we’ve made in recent days has not blinded us to the fact that our residents suffered and experienced discomfort and inconvenience for longer than any of us wished. We have worked diligently to restore services and quality of life and will continue to do so. We will not rest or be satisfied until every resident here has full service restored.”
Simmons cautioned that in a complex of Knickerbocker’s size, it is conceivable that a small handful of units might be without power. If so, that would not indicate a problem with the circuits, but rather because the unit’s service was inadvertently not plugged into the main circuit – a minor issue with a solution that requires an hour or two to correct. Simmons urged any residents without power to contact building management immediately.
He also noted that when electrical service is weaned off the temporary generators and back onto Con Edison’s grid, there might be six- to eight-hour interruptions of service. Announcements will be made when that occurs, and the interruptions would occur only between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Simmons reiterated that residents will not pay any rent for any days in which they did not have full essential services, which he initially announced Tuesday evening. Discussions between building management and various elected officials and governing bodies will determine how that will occur, with credits on future rent among the processes under consideration.
Meanwhile, Simmons said:
- Virtually all units have had some heat since Wednesday evening, and the number of those with heat continues to rise. Barring unforeseen setbacks, all units should have full heat by Saturday or possibly tomorrow.
- Virtually all the units have hot water during the day, and full hot water should return to all units by Saturday or earlier. In consultation with elected officials, management made a conscious triage decision to prioritize heat in apartments.
- Ten of the 12 elevator banks had at least one car working as of today, with all 12 scheduled to have service by tomorrow morning. Restoration of service to each elevator banks requires coordination among electricians, plumbers and elevator contractors, but Simmons said that coordination is ongoing.
- All lobbies are lighted, and contractors are in the process of restoring permanent lighting to hallways and stairwells, which currently have temporary lights. In consultation with tenants’ representatives and elected officials, management prioritized restoration of power to residential units.
In addition to repairing the devastating damage and restoring essential services, Knickerbocker Village has taken – and continues to take – an active role in supporting its residents and meeting their needs. Those efforts include:
- Purchasing and directly providing supplies such as water, meals, food, comfort kits, body warmers, blankets, batteries and flashlights.
- Physically delivering to residents the further supplies provided by relief organizations (hot and packaged meals, medical supplies and attention, etc).
- Making substantial donations to relief organizations, including Hamilton-Madison House and others, in support of their ongoing efforts.
- Working with government agencies, including FEMA, Health and Human Services, and the Department for the Aging to help direct their resources toward Knickerbocker’s most vulnerable residents.
Providing translation of communications for non-English-speaking residents