St. Marks Residents: Now We’re Cooking Without Gas

1359498095369-1 Molly Socha

Residents of 22 St. Marks Place have been dining out a lot lately. Shortly before Christmas, firefighters responded to a complaint about a gas odor, and the building has been without cooking gas ever since.

What started as an inconvenience (ever try to cook a Christmas feast in a microwave?) has become a genuine irritation.

“People are getting mutinous,” said a tenant who did not want to be named. In fact, some are circulating a petition that they’re threatening to take to the Department of Buildings.

It’s uncertain who, exactly, is responsible for the extended outage. According to a representative of the building’s management company, NBKM Realty, Con Edison turned off the gas because of a leak in one of its ground-floor restaurants.

Mamoun’s briefly closed because of the leak but reopened around Jan. 4. “It was the building’s fault,” said Kareem Ibriham, an employee of the falafel joint. He insisted that the gas for the restaurant is separate from the apartments above, and has been restored. 

Karen Malcolm, who is subleasing in the building, said she called the management company’s office a week after the outage and was told the problem was fixed but there had been a delay in a necessary Con Ed inspection.

On two occasions, residents were told to be home or to make special arrangements for the utility to access their apartments, said Ms. Malcolm. Many called off work on Friday and again on Monday, but Con Ed didn’t show up.

A resident who called Con Ed after the no-show said she was told there was no record of anyone having made an appointment for service.

But the management company denied it had dropped the ball. “We had several appointments with Con Ed,” said the rep, who did not want to be identified by name. “They didn’t even cancel; they just didn’t show up.”

Residents have now been told that Con Ed, which did not return The Local’s messages asking for comment, will turn on the gas Thursday morning. In the meantime, they continue to spend money eating out. One tenant estimated she had spent triple the amount on meals that she otherwise would have.

“People have jobs, and it’s been a huge inconvenience,” said Ms. Malcolm. “I mean, not to be able to cook in your own apartment for that amount of time is ridiculous.”

A few of her neighbors have created a petition outlining numerous other violations in the building (including vermin and hallways missing walls) and have sent it to management with the threat of submitting it to the Department of Buildings.

“It’s really a disgrace,” said one resident.