Toxic mess at Throggs Neck Houses

Hilda Maldonado recounts her 19 years of stinky mess to Sen. Jeff Klein. She and dozens of tenants at the Randall/Balcom Houses have been dealing with a rundown building for years.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt
Walter Pofeldt

A group of senior tenants have made a big stink over conditions at Throggs Neck Houses, and may finally get results.

Seniors have now summoned Sen. Jeff Klein to flex some muscle in getting repairs to the six-story building’s sewer system.

He recently toured the first floor of Randall/Balcom Houses at 2700 Randall Ave., where he met Hilda Maldonado, a frail 81-year-old tenant who’s toilet has experienced volcanic sewer spills in her apartment for the past 19 years.

“It catches us by surprise,” said Hilda, also forced to deal with no hot water and leaky roofs.

Randall/Balcom Houses is exclusive to seniors. It’s managed by Throggs Neck Houses, overseen by the city Housing Authority, which has long blamed seniors for causing the mess.

“I’m an old lady and I’m suffering,” said Maldonado, relying on eight medications to get her by.

It’s the same case for Alexander Malloy, a 72-year-old retired security guard forced to sop up these eruptions for the four years he’s lived there.

“Sometimes I would have to put on a mask to conceal the smell,” said Malloy, feeling little sympathy from management even as he sleeps in sludge for months.

Those are just two of the six tenants living in this ongoing mess, even as NYCHA continually makes repairs, none permanent.

Klein Visit

Klein, representing the area, is now pressuring NYCHA brass to take a first-hand look at conditions.

On Aug. 12 Klein spent the morning cataloging Malloy’s experiences.

“We live and sleep in this for 24 hours,” said Malloy, referring to the standard response time from NYCHA maintenance crews after getting the first report.

“The ability to get things done isn’t the same as it use to be. No comparison,” said Malloy.

The two were joined by Bill Thompson, a mayoral candidate, who reiterated that he would fire NYCHA Chairman John Rhea should he win.

Klein intends to put NYCHA on the spot, demanding repairs be made for the senior folks.

The issue is centered on a sewer system unable to meet the demand of the six-story residential building, according to tenants. Sewage flows into sewage tanks, but rises back up to the first floor once they’re clogged.

NYCHA has responded to the mess, ordering maintenance staff to pump out the sludge while pointing fingers at the above floor tenants, claiming flushed pampers and food waste is causing the backups.

“I know the seniors are not throwing out pampers,” said Manny Maldonado, Hilda’s son. “They’re not that stupid.’

Malloy thinks repairs are simply patchwork, blasting NYCHA for not replacing the sewer system altogether.

The Maldonado’s can no longer deal with constantly cleaning the mess, begging NYCHA to transfer the elder Maldonado out of her apartment and into a vacant one. They’ve continually been denied.

“I have doctor’s notes saying she can’t be around feces,” said Manny.

A NYCHA spokesperson didn’t return calls.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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