2005-07-22 / Community

Three-Day ‘Lights Out’ For Ocean Village Complex Residents

By Howard Schwach

Eugene Racks and Janet Taylor, two residents of Ocean Village, point to their buildings. Power was out in the complex from Sunday morning to Tuesday night during one of the hottest periods of the year.Eugene Racks and Janet Taylor, two residents of Ocean Village, point to their buildings. Power was out in the complex from Sunday morning to Tuesday night during one of the hottest periods of the year. Hundreds of Ocean Village residents were literally in the dark without electricity, air conditioning, water or elevators for nearly three days last week when equipment in its electrical room tripped out and had to be replaced. In at least one building of the three-building complex, elevators and water remained out on Wednesday evening. Power was being supplied to all buildings in the Beach 59 Street buildings not by the complex but by several large generators loaned to Ocean Village by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).

Although first reports on Sunday morning, when the electricity first failed, said that the problem was with the LIPA transmission lines, Michael Lowndes, a spokesperson for the utility told The Wave it was not to blame.

“This is an internal problem with their own equipment. All we could do is loan them the equipment to get back on line, which we dispatched from our Hewlett (Long Island) facility,” said Lowndes.

On two occasions, The Wave called the complex’s management office for comment and information. In both cases, we were put on hold and then, minutes later, disconnected.

And, while the management office sent a memorandum to tenants apologizing for the blackout and stating that the office would be closed for the duration of the crisis, many tenants in the 14-story buildings were angry.

“This is really frustrating,” said tenant Eugene Racks, who lives on the ninth floor of 57-15 Shore Front Parkway. “All my food is ruined, all my ribs and my chicken wings. All of my steaks. Who is going to reimburse me for all of my losses?”

Racks, who has lived in the complex since 1996, says that management is “always finding ways to cheat the tenants out of money,” and that “all of the equipment is old and always breaking down.”

Racks claims that the elevators break down at least once each week, stranding older residents on upper floors or in the lobby.

He says that he went to the management office to find out what was happening and that all of the officials there “ran and hid” from the tenants because they did not want to answer questions about the equipment.

“It was hot as hell and I had to sit outside all day and night,” he said.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the residents of the complex, issued a statement on .

“I am deeply concerned with the power and water outage that took place in Ocean Village. My number one concern is the health, safety and well-being of the many seniors and families that reside in the complex and regret any discomfort or distress they may have experienced during the record high weather conditions. My office will look into ways in which residents can be reimbursed for whatever losses they may have incurred due to food spoilage.”

Meeks added that Ocean Village is subsidized with federal funds and that he would work with all parties to find out what happened to keep it from happening again.

Nydia Charles, the President of the Ocean Village Tenant’s Association said that a number of residents had to be taken to the hospital and that some had lost their insulin because of a lack of refrigeration. The Red Cross addressed many tenant needs and the ROCK Ambulance Corps stood by for 12 hours, assisting people in getting to their apartments on upper floors.

Late on Monday night, LIPA trucks rumbled into the complex, bringing emergency generators to be hooked to the Ocean Village hub.

It took until 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday for the electricity to be restored to all of the buildings utilizing the borrowed generators, however.

Racks says that, if he could, he would find someplace else to live.

“Any place but here,” he said angrily. “This is no place for anybody to have to live.”

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