Aid from above: City begins repairing tops of Red Hook Houses buildings

Aid from above: City begins repairing tops of Red Hook Houses buildings

They’re razing the roofs.

The city is starting to replace roofs of Red Hook Houses buildings this week, nearly five years after superstorm Sandy ravaged the neighborhood, the New York City Housing Authority announced Tuesday. And it’s about time, according to local leaders.

“A lot of the roofs were leaking,” said Lillie Marshall, the tenant association president for Red Hook East, which is part of the public housing complex. “It’s now or never.”

The $63-million project includes installing new tops on all of the site’s 28 residential buildings, which are designed to better insulate during cold months, reduce the amount of heat retained during warmer seasons, and eliminate water intrusion, according to a spokeswoman for the housing authority.

The work, part of the city’s first phase of Sandy fixes, precedes the rest of a massive $553-million renovation that will include the installation of a new heat and hot-water system, structural reinforcements, constructing elevated courtyards to protect building entrances from floods, elevating electrical equipment, and equipping the complex with a full back-up power system.

The 2012 storm left the Red Hook Houses, which are home to 6,000 residents, with no water for days and without power and heat for weeks.

The Feds allocated $550 million for repairs to safeguard the complex from future storms last year, and the nabe’s congresswoman said its important the buildings are retrofitted to withstand severe weather.

“As we see what’s happening currently with Hurricane Harvey, it’s only a matter of time before New York City faces more extreme weather, due to changes in our climate,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Red Hook). “Projects like this one ensure our communities are better prepared in the future.”

The roof replacement is scheduled to finish by the fall of 2019, and the entire project is expected to conclude by at least 2021.

The city is taking other precautions to protect Red Hook residents from extreme weather, too, including the installation of a four-foot flood barrier near the nabe’s coastline, which concluded last month.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill