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Harlem Building Without Cooking Gas For 6 Months Failed Inspection

By Gustavo Solis | January 7, 2015 2:27pm
 A six-story building on 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue has not had cooking gas since July. Tenants who pay market rate got an electric stove while those who are in rent controlled apartments got hot plates.
Some Tenants Get Hot Plates While Others Get Electric Stoves
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HARLEM — An apartment building that's been without cooking gas for six months and racked up more than 150 violations last year failed its inspection to restore the gas Tuesday.

The six-story building at 301 St. Nicholas Ave. — which gave market rate tenants electric stoves while giving rent controlled tenants hot plates — failed its inspection because it did not have the right number of valves installed, according to Con Edison.

The cooking gas at the building was shut off on July 8 after a fire in the ground floor deli.

Because of the failed test, the building manager, Newcastle Realty, will have to repair the problem and complete a checklist from the Department of Buildings before they can schedule another inspection, a Con Ed spokesman said.

Residents were initially optimistic Tuesday morning when they saw Con Ed inspectors working in their kitchen, said Gloria Atterbury, 67.

“I was getting my hopes up because this is the first time that they were doing anything about this,” she said.

But after the inspectors left, the management company did not inform residents about the failed test, Atterbury said, who found out after a reporter told her.

"There is no communication between the management and the tenants," said resident  John Rutledge, 69, a Vietnam veteran.

Newcastle hired a plumber to start installing the missing valves Wednesday morning. Spokesman George Arzt said the company is working to restore the gas as soon as possible.

Meanwhile residents are growing more frustrated as they continue to live without cooking gas.

“It’s ridiculous because we are paying more money on food and our electric bill goes up because of the hot plate,” Rutledge said. “When you reach out to management their attitude is, 'You know, you can move.' The bottom line is we are still without gas.”

Since the July fire, residents have filed 135 complaints with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. They include peeling plaster, mice, no heat and hot water, and no cooking gas, according to the department’s website.

Additionally, the building has 156 open violations for issues including a busted lock in the front door, broken smoke alarms and not repairing fire damage from July, according to HPD.

In October, the building was fined $1,000 for not having heat and hot water, an HPD spokeswoman said.