Marble Hill Houses set to receive long overdue heat and hot water upgrades from joint NYCHA-NYPA project

For tenants of the Marble Hill Houses, calls for reliable heat and hot water service had been at the source of tenant frustration since 2015.
Photo Jason Cohen

For the Marble Hill House tenants who reside in the Bronx’s northwest corridor, calls for reliable heat and hot water service had been at the source of residential frustration since 2015.  

Some tenants like 75-year-old Adelaida Marrero told the Bronx Times that they had gone more than four months without hot water.

“I try to take a bath, but it’s like you are living in 1800,” she told the Bronx Times last January. “All they [NYCHA] say is they’re working on it, but they don’t fix the problem.”

Now, residents of the Marble Hill Houses in Bronx’s northwest corridor and Berry Houses in Staten Island are set to receive energy and heat upgrades as a part of a $72 million construction plan by the city’s housing and power authorities.

Complaints over consistent hot water and heat outages were only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where at one point, 153 apartments in the Marble Hill Houses’ Building 4, at 2811 Exterior St., had been without hot water in their bathrooms since mid-October 2020, according to building violation data obtained by the Bronx Times.

The two projects will impact more than 2,100 apartments officials from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) said in a statement that the projects aim to reduce roughly 2,200 metric tons of carbon emission to meet the state’s climate goals.

For both buildings, NYCHA and NYPA will be making energy-efficient upgrades to the complexes’ low-pressure steam boilers, a decoupling of the existing hot water systems and adding new gas-fired hot water heaters. Both projects are expected to be completed by December 2023, with the Marble Hill and Berry House projects totaling $41 million and $31 million, respectively.

“The heating improvements being implemented by the Power Authority at NYCHA’s Marble Hill and Berry Houses will provide residents with more reliable and energy-efficient heat and hot water delivery,” said NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “The upgrades will update and improve these important systems and help reduce carbon emissions, furthering the goals of Governor Hochul’s aggressive climate agenda.”

Driscoll also assured that that construction projects will provide more reliability in hot and heat water to tenants of both housing complexes, which are managed by NYCHA.

“After several seasons of inconsistent heat, I am excited to hear that NYCHA and NYPA are investing in green heating improvements for Marble Hill and Berry Houses,” said Fordham Councilmember Pierina Sanchez. “Modernizing NYCHA’s building infrastructure is essential to ensuring families can safely keep warm, without the need to opt for dangerous space heaters that are also harmful to the environment. Our approach to the climate crisis must take on an equity framework, and by prioritizing frontline residents, we are taking a step in the right direction.”

Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes