After Month Without Cooking Gas, Tenants Turn Up Heat On Landlord

east village thaiJoann Pan Sign on the gate of East Village Thai.

David Piccirillo and William Ott have not had a working stove or oven since they moved into their apartment a month ago. Because of small leaks in the pipes, the cooking gas in their building at 32 East Seventh Street was shut off Sept. 27, three days before the two moved in.

Mr. Piccirillo, 24, can’t cook his morning eggs anymore, and estimates that his food costs have doubled.

“You have to get up and go out any time you want something warm to eat,” added Mr. Ott, 23, who just relocated from Long Island.

Other tenants have been given hot plates, but Mr. Piccirillo and Mr. Ott were still waiting on theirs earlier today. Mr. Piccirillo said he would like money to be deducted from their rent, though he is not optimistic.

For one of the tenants, hot pots aren’t much help: East Village Thai, which occupies one of the building’s storefronts, has been closed since the gas was shut off. The restaurant’s owner, Paul Euiu, said that when the problem started, his landlord, Jakobson Properties, told him to hold off on October rent until things were resolved. But Mr. Euiu was greeted with the usual rent bill when he stopped by his restaurant this afternoon.

Like other tenants, Mr. Euiu, who has now lost a month of revenue, said he had not been told when his gas service might resume. He comes by daily to check on the space and see how the repair work is progressing. He calls his landlord frequently. “They just keep giving the same answer, that they’re trying their best,” he said. “But it’s been a month now.”

A spokesman for Con Edison said that because the gas leaks are a safety issue, the landlord must complete the repairs and verify the pipes’ safety by sending Con Ed the results of an integrity test. Con Ed will then conduct their own inspection before turning the gas back on. Tammy Rice, a property manager at Jakobson, told The Local in an e-mail that they are still repairing the cooking gas lines.

The building’s hot water and heating systems are separate, so residents won’t freeze, but home cooking and what some consider to be the city’s best pad thai will remain on hold.

Though going out for food is a hassle, Mr. Ott said his safety is worth the wait. “I don’t want the gas turned on unless there are no leaks,” he said.