Nostalgic for Old Brooklyn? Just take the D train to 8705 Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, where tenants have been living without proper electricity for two weeks.
It’s a real nostalgia-killer.
“Obviously, 50, 60 years ago, it wouldn’t be such a big deal,” said Bruce Lafroscia, landlord of the 16-unit building. “But now, people are used to certain things, and it’s, like, their inalienable right.”
By “certain things,” Lafroscia means modern-day appliances like, you know, lamps.
“The lights go off and on, up and down,” he added. “We’re getting a fifth of [the electricity] we should be getting.”
In response, residents have had to prioritize their modern-day luxuries.
One mother has sacrificed separate bedrooms for the family, instead choosing to spend her nights crowded with her two children into a narrow den, where there’s enough juice to power the room’s small air conditioner. The kids sleep on the floor, she gets the couch.
Another resident doesn’t have enough power for the refrigerator, so she tossed all her perishables. She just bought a dorm-sized fridge that will probably be able to run on the limited voltage.
“I’m living out of here,” said Kathleen Thompson, pointing to a cooler bag filled with ice.
Other residents are dealing with harsher realities.
On a recent afternoon, Loretta Hayden sat on her home hospital bed, her gravely ill daughter lay prone on another bed across the apartment. A fan did little but move some warm air around.
“It’s not too kosher,” said Hayden in an Alabaman lilt. “It’s so hot. My daughter is sick [and bedridden].”
A visiting nurse, who cares for them 12 hours a day, said it’s been next to impossible to make the women comfortable.
“Her daughter has an electric bed, and it won’t work without power,” said the nurse, Anette Bisesur. “If the bed doesn’t go up, I can’t feed her [unless I hold her head up].”
The angry residents, without full power since July 28, have begun to mobilize.
A sign — handwritten, of course — hangs on the front door urging residents to “call Con Ed and keep calling and complaining.”
Inside, another scrawled sign lists the numbers of local elected officials.
Con Edison spokesman Chris Olert says the electric monopoly is “trying to expedite the job” of restoring full power. Olert placed some blame on red tape in getting “a permit to dig in the street.” He said the juice would be flowing at full strength by the weekend.
But until the power is fully restored, even Thompson’s kitty is struggling with the powerless humans.
“I was having to wet her down,” said Thompson of Queeny, her 17-year-old gray-and-white cat. “She was having labored breathing in the heat.”
©2006 Community News Group
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