Tenants tired of being washed out

Tenants at a Middletown Road apartment building are tired of all the wet weather.

With all of the rain this month has brought, residents of Middletown Plaza at 3033 Middletown Road have really been paying the price.

The weather over the past two weeks has left flooding in multiple stairwells of the 15-story building and no elevator service for hours at a time – a major problem in a building exclusively for seniors.

The building, run by the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) , has 178 apartments and about 185 residents.

Tenant association president Rev. Marilyn Oliver said the problem dates back over twenty years.

“I’ve been here five years,” Oliver said. “But I have tenants that have been here 21 years and they say this condition was the same.”

Oliver said NYCHA hired a contractor to fix the roof in 2011.

“But, whoever they had before, ran off with the money,” she said. “So they had a new contractor come in and spent millions of dollars on the roof to stop the flooding, but obviously it didn’t work.”

The more troubling problem, Oliver said, is the water leaking into the elevator shaft, cutting off service.

“I can’t understand how they are not addressing that problem,” Oliver said.

Saturday morning, June 8, Oliver came home to find at least 10 seniors, including one in a wheel chair, sitting in the building lobby.

“They could not get up to their apartments,” she said. “The water was completely across the fourth floor, stairwells had water on the stairs and floor, and it was flowing like a river. These seniors couldn’t walk up to their apartments even if they wanted to because it’s a hazard.”

Sixty-eight year old tenant Emma Tyler said she sat in the lobby from noon to 6 p.m., waiting for elevator service to return because she could not walk up to her apartment since she uses a walker.

“I ran out and did some errands and when I came back it was all messed up,” Tyler said. “I think that was wrong. It’s too long just to sit around waiting. Someone finally came about ten to six.”

Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he is very disappointed with the situation at Middletown Plaza.

“We’ve had constant problems at Middletown,” Vacca said. “After a visit there last Saturday, I was very discouraged. I am waiting for the housing authority to say what they are going to do. We have had a very wet June, but that is no excuse.”

Vacca said he saw significant puddles in stairwells and in hallways.

“These are senior citizens, they could slip and fall,” he said. “They had no access to their apartments. Many of them could not leave their apartments either, not only because of flooding, but many of them are not able to go up and down 13 flights of stairs.”

“The housing authority has to resolve these water issues.”

A spokesperson for the councilman said NYCHA has not returned phone calls made to their office.

As of press time, NYCHA did not respons to calls from the Bronx Times Reporter.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3394