Elevator broke? Call electeds

Stuck in a high-rise with a broken elevator?

Not to worry: the East Bronx’s local elected officials are on the case.

Residents at a Pelham Parkway apartment complex on Matthews Avenue can now come and go as they please after enduring a three-day stretch when they were banished to the stairs or stuck inside their apartments.

The lifts stopped working at the seven-story, 133-unit complex on Tuesday, Nov. 19, residents said. But by Friday, Nov. 22, the elevators were back up and running, thanks to pressure applied by Councilman James Vacca and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.

The residents at 2160 Matthews Ave. complained of having to walk across the roof to a neighboring property to access an elevator that would take them to the street.

At night, crossing the dimly lit rooftops became dangerous, residents said.

Some of those residents could not reach the roof in the first place. The complex’s inhabitants include many elderly and disabled.

“I was confined to my apartment; it was terrible!” said Gratnick, who has lived at 2160 Matthews for over thirty years and has a disability that bars her from walking down stairs.

Gratnick says she tried contacting the property’s manager but got no response.

Gratnick then reached out to the local elected officials, who say they convinced the manager to hurry up the repair process.

“It is disgraceful that elderly and disabled residents were without access to medication, food and other necessities for almost three days – while some were forced to traverse rooftops like Spiderman to get to neighboring buildings – because it took so long to fix the elevator,” Vacca wrote in a statement. “I am thankful to the residents for informing my office of this extremely dangerous situation.”

Gratnick said broken elevators and other grievances have become commonplace at the complex since 2011, when bank GM Funding foreclosed on the property.

The building has previously been owned by a company called New Matthews Ave LLC, and managed by Bernard Putter.

Gratnick pays $1,220 per month in her rent-stabilized apartment. She said she sometimes feels like the building’s managers make it as difficult as possible for her to live in the high-rise.

“It’s like they want us to leave,” she said.

Ben Kochman can be reached via e-mail at BKochman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742–3394

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