Hotel Chelsea Still Without Heat 24 Hours After Gas Shut Off

By Mathew Katz on March 22, 2013 12:59pm 

CHELSEA — There's still no heat at the Hotel Chelsea a full day after the legendary lodge had its gas shut off.

The iconic inn at 222 W. 23rd St. lost heat, hot water, and cooking gas at around 11 a.m. on Thursday, and tenants spent the night fighting off freezing temperatures.

By Friday afternoon, there was still little hope of a speedy fix. 

Inspectors from Con Edison, the Department of Buildings, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development were on the scene on Friday, visiting each apartment and turning off the gas valves for each stove, residents said.

Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for Con Ed, said a contractor working at the hotel accidentally turned the main gas line off yesterday, and that the building needed to make more repairs before it could be turned back on.

"We can't turn it back on until the gas system is safe," Quiroz said. "You don't want to mess with gas."

The historic hotel has been the site of renovations for more than a year, since developer Joseph Chetrit bought the building in 2011, leaving many of its residents complaining of loud, dirty living conditions.

Quiroz could not give details about the extent of the required repairs but described a significant process before the utility company could restore gas service. Once the repairs are made, the landlord will have to test all the pipes and call the city to inspect them before Con Ed can return and flip the switch.

When the gas had not returned by morning, many residents said they were unable to shower and some did not go to work.

"Everyone was more or less frozen in place and very upset," said Zoe Pappas, who heads up the hotel's tenant association.

DOB and HPD did not immediately return a request for comment.

Pappas said that she spent the night in 55-degree temperatures inside her apartment, and feared another night in the cold.

"We have old people here, people who are fragile," she said.

"It seems like we don't look like human beings to our landlord." 

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