A few dozen Coney Island public housing residents are suing NYCHA, claiming a host of unresolved, serious issues with their homes — including a line break that has left some families without cooking gas for over a year.
The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn housing court earlier this week was brought on behalf of over 50 residents at seven city-run public housing complexes on Coney Island, who say a range of hazardous issues born out of Hurricane Sandy nearly 10 years ago have been left unaddressed.
The lawsuit comes just weeks after Gothamist reported on the living conditions plaguing public housing residents around Coney Island. The Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development were named as party respondents to the case.
Most residents were affected by a cooking gas outage that was born out of a Hurricane Sandy remediation project gone wrong. It was intended to replace boilers and generators damaged by the 2012 storm but destroyed gas lines in the process.
October marks the 10th anniversary of the hurricane’s arrival in New York City, which killed dozens of New Yorkers, left hundreds of thousands of people without power and caused billions of dollars in damages.
“A lack of running water, no elevator service, mold, and gas outages are just some of the problems these residents have faced on a regular basis,” said Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, whose Brooklyn district encompasses Coney Island, in a statement. “All we’re asking for is for tenants to receive the amenities they are paying for – nothing more, nothing less.”
A NYCHA spokesperson said the agency does not comment on pending litigation. A spokesperson for the city law department said the agency “will review the case and respond accordingly.”
“The landlord’s failure to correct the violations and conditions alleged is intended to cause us to vacate our apartments or to surrender or waive our rights thereto,” the petition filed in housing court reads in part.
Residents of one development, Sites 4 & 5, say they have been without gas since Aug. 30, 2021. Another development, O’Dwyer Gardens, has left residents without gas for as long as seven months.
“Until the repairs are finally made, it’s difficult to cook in our apartments with the single hot plate that NYCHA gave us,” said Marcy Jackson, tenants association president at Sites 4 & 5.
Hurricane Sandy’s legacy has left many residents wondering how prepared the city would be in the event of another similarly extreme weather event. Resiliency projects have been in the works over the years, but certain catastrophic events — the flooding of basements due to rainfall from Hurricane Ida in 2021 — have put pressure on the city to do more to protect residents, particularly in waterfront communities. Eleven people drowned in their basement apartments last year, in Ida’s wake.
The City Council held a hearing this summer on the toll extreme weather was having on the city’s aging infrastructure, as councilmembers pointed to a sinkhole in the Bronx that appeared to swallow a van whole in video footage. The sewage lines underneath had been unable to withstand the level of rainfall on a day in July when flooding had occurred in low-lying and poorly draining areas of the city.