Reinforcements Arrive at Neglected Knickerbocker Village

Posted on: November 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am by
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Whereas just a few days ago Cherry Street was rather quiet and seemingly neglected, yesterday afternoon was quite a different story. Reinforcements arrived at Knickerbocker Village to finally alleviate a residential complex that has been without electricity, heat, or hot water for two weeks. A gathering of residents materialized on the sidewalk at noon to protest the lack of attention toward their dire plight since Hurricane Sandy. Plenty of media was there to document.

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OEM, FEMA, and National Guard were all within the vicinity, and a makeshift 24-hour warming tent was pitched in the Mofo hockey rink. Meanwhile, flatbed trucks with generators are now parked curbside, and utility companies from as far as Kansas and Missouri are aiding in the effort (i.e. KCP&L). That power, however, is expended predominantly in the hallways and lobbies, not the apartments themselves.

The following statement was released by building management Friday evening:

The management of Knickerbocker Village has been working around the clock to care for our residents and restore building services in the wake of this unprecedented storm. We have overcome enormous challenges, only to face multiple setbacks due to the configuration and age of Knickerbocker Village and its infrastructure, as well as limited supply of resources in the New York area. Regardless of obstacles, we have not, and will not, spare any expense or resource to get the buildings and their systems back to normal, and our residents safe and comfortable in their homes.

  • All building systems controlling utility and heating services are located below ground and were overcome by the surge of seawater from the East River. Pumping was commenced as quickly as possible after the storm, and by last Saturday November 3rd, electricity was restored to approximately 80% of Knickerbocker Village, only to lose power again as a result of an unfortunate electrical fire that was beyond our control. Resulting from the fire, Con Edison imposed new power restoration procedures that govern our process and progress.
  • All over the New York area, the supply of manpower, materials and replacement equipment is extremely limited. Literally hundreds of buildings in New York, including both private and City- owned properties, remain without utility service and are looking for exactly the same professionals and equipment that we need at Knickerbocker Village. Among our complications, our boilers are of a rare vintage, so only 10% of the universe of temporary/replacement equipment could work. In this difficult environment we are searching far and wide to get these resources, but it is a challenging process. We are optimistic that temporary generators will be delivered soon, which should add some electricity supply, and with it the potential for supplemental heating sources.

Given the number of issues currently beyond our control, in addition to working our hardest to repair the Knickerbocker Village physical plant we have taken the following actions:

  • Supplying residents with food, water, blankets, flashlights and other necessities.
  • Assisting residents, especially the elderly, in moving to temporary emergency housing or transferring to vacant apartments within the portions of Knickerbocker Village that have electric power.
  • Making multiple daily rounds to check on residents.
  • Coordinating with FEMA, the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the Red Cross and other non-profit organizations, and elected officials regarding further humanitarian assistance.
  • Holding daily briefings in the available community room to provide tenants with updates on ourprogress and more regular briefings of the Knickerbocker Village Tenants Association.

We currently expect electricity to be restored in advance of other services and will make every effort to supply heat from electrical sources until we have boiler service up and running.  Regarding rent issues, Knickerbocker Village, Inc. is working with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR) to address potential abatements as Knickerbocker Village is subject to rent regulation and therefore only NYSHCR can make the final determinations regarding rents.

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