Thousands of NYCHA residents were left without running water in their apartments this weekend, forcing some tenants to collect their own from a fire hydrant on Sunday night.
A video posted to Facebook by Clarisa Alayeto (a resident of Patterson Houses in the Bronx) shows dozens of exasperated tenants lined up with buckets and trash cans around a hydrant. According to the city's tracker, the entire development—home to 4,131 New Yorkers—experienced a disruption in water service on Sunday afternoon. Residents said the problems, including heat outages, persisted throughout the entire weekend.
"If you take the train 15 minutes down, you're in the richest part of the country," Alayeto said in a subsequent video, in which she called on Patterson residents to protest the outages. "There's no reason our people in Patterson Houses don't have water, and no reason why they have to come to the fire hydrant. It's demoralizing."
A spokesperson for the New York City Housing Authority blamed the reports on broken water pumps, and said crews were working to provide temporary pumps in the meantime. "This is yet another example of the problems we face given our aging infrastructure, but we must do better providing basic services despite these challenges," the spokesperson added.
As of Monday morning, however, pressure from the new pumps wasn't strong enough to make it to the top floors, and many are still without water, including seniors and children, CBS reports. According to Alayeto, running water problems have beset Patterson tenants “over and over again,” with unplanned disruptions as recently as two weeks ago.
Tenants also say they were left in the cold for months last winter—a period in which 80 percent of citywide NYCHA apartments had heat and hot water outages, affecting more than 300,0000 tenants. A class action lawsuit filed earlier this year describes the way NYCHA residents were left to fend for themselves, with one Patterson Houses tenant creating their own "heating bus" outside the development by plugging in three space heaters.
On Monday, NYCHA tenants will rally alongside Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. outside the Patterson Houses. In a statement to Gothamist, Diaz Jr. said: “This is entirely unacceptable. NYCHA tenants should not be forced to go without basic necessities and live in third-world conditions."