Today’s news:

Two weeks after Sandy, 2,000 Red Hook housing residents still in dark

The Brooklyn Paper

Residents of the Red Hook Houses say the city has abandoned them in the weeks since Hurricane Sandy flooded their complex, and now they’re forced to live in Third-World-like conditions, with no electricity, heat, or hot water.

The surge from Sandy knocked out the essentials to the city’s largest housing project, located on six blocks between Richards and Clinton streets, flooding the basements where its boilers and electrical rooms are located, and transforming apartments into confinements.

“This house is like a prison – no lights, no heat, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Dwight Street resident Manuel Ortiz,

Tenants at the 2,878-unit project say they’ve been patiently waiting for nearly two weeks for the city to finish pumping seawater from their basements and repair equipment so electricity can be restored, but many say that patience is wearing thin.

“It’s unbearable,” said resident Desmond Hill of Hicks Street. “Everybody is just tired of this. We just want the power back on.”

Right now, residents must trudge up several flights of stairs with only a flashlight to light their way, keep their stove burners on just to keep warm, and sleep in layers to stay warm within their buildings with no elevators, heat, or hot water.

“When I wake up in the morning the floor is freezing,” said Ulyses Bermudez of Dwight Street. “I shiver in the bathroom when I brush my teeth, and to take a shower is just inhumane. The water is ice.”

The only thing keeping residents going is the outpouring of support from the neighboring communities and groups like the Red Hook Initiative, which has volunteers going door-to-door to distribute food and supplies to the elderly who are home-bound in what have become 14-floor walk-ups.

“They’ve been a huge help,” said Ortiz.

As of Monday, more than 2,000 Red Hook housing tenants were still without power, according to the New York City Housing Authority, which manages the property. The agency said it was working with city, state, and federal agencies to bring in additional generators and boilers to provide heat and power to the buildings that have yet to be restored.

But the city wouldn’t give an estimate on when the power will be restored or if the buildings basements were still inundated, and that leaves residents with little hope.

“People feel like they have nowhere to go,” said Tony Schloss of the Red Hook Initiative.

For some, the only salvation is going to work, where there actually is heat and hot water.

“It’s an escape just to get out of this reality,” said Hill said.

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Reader Feedback

Sammy from Red Hook says:
Why should people in the project be prioritized? A lot of people living in those projects live off our tax dollars and are happy to do just that. The city will get to you when they get to you. The priority should be restoring normal living conditions to those of us who work and pay taxes.
Nov. 13, 2012, 10:08 am
Lynda from Clinton Hill says:
Heartless.
Nov. 13, 2012, 4:12 pm
Lynda from Clinton Hill says:
The article says that some residents get relief at work.
Nov. 13, 2012, 4:14 pm
lLouise from Red hood says:
Your stupid Sammy! I work two jobs amd live in housing dont be ignorant.
Nov. 13, 2012, 10:19 pm
Sara J. from Brooklyn heights says:
Yup, people who are living public housing are hard working people. That's why they live in the projects. The projects and people living in them are a blight on Brooklyn. It would be a silver lining of the storm if some of those dumps ended up condemned.
Nov. 14, 2012, 7:56 am
Sara J. from Brooklyn heights says:
Yup, people who are living public housing are hard working people. That's why they live in the projects. The projects and people living in them are a blight on Brooklyn. It would be a silver lining of the storm if some of those dumps ended up condemned.
Nov. 14, 2012, 7:57 am
Sara J. from Brooklyn heights says:
Yup, people who are living public housing are hard working people. That's why they live in the projects. The projects and people living in them are a blight on Brooklyn. It would be a silver lining of the storm if some of those dumps ended up condemned.
Nov. 14, 2012, 7:57 am
Sara J. from Brooklyn Heights says:
And I mean condemned with the people still in them. They're part of the blight, after all.
Nov. 14, 2012, 9:18 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
wow what ignorance. Most of the people in the projects are working poor. Some are on welfare most are not. But the people in Sea gate won't let me drive in their development-maybe they should be made to fend for themselves. NY Housing is the largest such in the US. I have met people who have lived there who have gone on to be doctors and lawyers etc. It is outrageous that they are still without heat and hot water almost three weeks after the storm hit. They pay taxes and they pay their rent. They are entitled to full services...they used to be mostly white and they would have been treated differently if they were and those that attack them for being in NYHA housing a just a bunch of racists IMO....
Nov. 14, 2012, 2:16 pm
scott from park slope says:
that's different--the racist trolls posting here usually come from Bay Ridge. Could it be Sandy taught them shame? Maybe even humility?

No neighborhood should suffer because its residents are the wrong color. It's un-American. More than that, it goes against the tradition of New Yorkers helping each other no matter who they are, what they believe, or where they come from.
Nov. 15, 2012, 10:42 am

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