The city's housing authority says it continues to restore heat, hot water and full power to buildings that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, but that restoration is coming in fits and starts. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.
The first sight of hot water in 18 days. It's the best thing to happen at the Ocean Bay Apartments in Arverne since the lights came back on after generators were installed a few days ago. For many, it was a cause for celebration.
"I'm so happy," said one tenant.
Throughout the Ocean Bay apartments, where the elevators are also back online, residents welcomed the water. Still no heat, though.
City officials had said temporary boilers would be used to restore heat and hot water to roughly 80 public housing buildings that had neither. But with no timeline set, the waiting has turned to fury for 75-year-old Lucille McKenzie, who has arthritis and lives with her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. She's been using her oven most nights to keep warm, although that can be dangerous.
"Rockaway, they named it the right name. Rock, Away. We're way away. They don't care to think about us," McKenzie said.
Lucille is not alone. Some tenants in the complex don't even have gas.
"They give us hot plates, and the hot plates hardly works," said one tenant.
Many have come to rely on ready-to-eat meals delivered by the National Guard. Hadija Dia said her sister gave birth days after the storm, stayed in her cold apartment, and is now sick in the hospital. She blames the slow return of basic services.
"Too cold for a baby and the mom to be in the house you know? And had no choice. They had to be here," Dia said.
As of midday Thursday, the heat still was not back. But there were more thank yous in the neighborhood, as folks said it's the little things one takes for granted that make life liveable.