Woodlawn building recovers after days without power

In Woodlawn, a nine-story building has its power back after spending days without the juice following Superstorm Sandy.

The news has lifted a giant burden off Jim Murphy’s shoulders.

“You forget about the conveniences like hot water,” said Murphy, a 30-year tenant of Woodlawn Veterans Mutual at 4260 Kathonah Ave.

Since October 30, the building plunged into darkness after wild winds whipped Woodlawn.

Tenants, mostly elderly, were forced to schlep up and down the building’s dark staircases and corridors, hugging the walls for support.

Some, fearing injury, voluntarily stayed stranded inside their apartments.

“There’s people who can’t get out,” said Murphy, who became somewhat of a hall monitor during the blackout, leading the elderly up and down stairwells.

Others rather took their chances instead of being holed up in their apartments.

“This is like the Old West,” said Peggy Hogan, 67, a 15-year tenant who called the outage the worst she’s lived through.

Life without the juice was especially tough on the complex given the senior population. Most of them suffer from health-related issues.

“I can’t use my oxygen machine,” said Jerry Binasinski, a senior living with COPD, a breathing condition. His electric-powered machine was out of commission since the storm wreaked havoc on the Bronx on October 30.

And with no electricity, Jerry and his friends have been forced to rely on flashlights as they tread up and down pitch black staircases, hugging the walks and the railing for support.

Senator Jeff Klein brought in temporary relief on Friday, November 2, mobilizing his staff to WVM following complaints made to his office.

He and his staff personally delivered aid to tenants, packing flashlights, non-perishables and hot meals courtesy of F&J Pine, the Italian-American eatery in Morris Park.

“This is what it’s all about,” said Klein. “People helping together.”

He and his colleagues in Albany are drafting legislation that waives deductibles on homeowner’s insurance.

The relief has been helpful to tenant Jim Murphy, who called Klein’s office for help.

“He didn’t have to do this,” said Murphy.

Con Ed crews arrived with their trucks on Monday, November 5. The next day, Jim noticed his lights were back on.

With Sandy now etched in the memories of Woodlawn residents, Murphy cautions people to stay prepared.

“Get a transistor radio,” said Murphy. “It least gives you the news from the outside world.”

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or [email protected].

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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