Contractors working on a massive construction project near the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown headquarters slashed phone and Internet cables, sending the organization, and other tenants inside the Elm Place property, back to the slow old days.
“We’re at a standstill,” said Carl Hum, the always-connected president of the Chamber, whose offices are part of a building that stretches to Fulton Street, where construction is underway on a three-floor dormitory for Long Island University.
Verizon, the communications giant that provides phone and Internet service to the building, confirmed the mess.
“The construction company has purposefully and knowing cut our cables and put our customers out of service,” said spokesman John Bonomo.
“We have a plan in place to restore their service with new cabling and terminal boxes, but this is a fairly extensive job,” he added, saying he is unable to give a time frame when the work would be completed.
Management company J.W. Mays is overseeing the work, and did not return a call for comment by our light-speed deadline. Workers at the Elm Place building said the Fulton structure is being transformed into a distinct building, which has caused intermittent service disruptions.
The Chamber, charged with steering the borough’s economic ship, has gone dark since Friday — a fact that galled its board members.
“We haven’t seen anything this egregious in years,” said a member, who requested anonymity. “This is a very important institution that can’t make a phone call.”
Even so, Hum said he would understand — if only the problem was a one-shot deal.
But for months, the project has reduced Hum’s voice to a whisper, impeding his ability to communicate with the businesses that comprise his not-for-profit organization, sometimes for days at a time.
“This disrupts our ability to service our clients and it should be addressed,” Hum said. “Business is all about communication.”
Other building tenants said they too are suffering.
A manager at one company said his work calls are being forwarded to his cell phone. “Every day we get 250 to 300 calls,” said the manager, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the problem. “Imagine in one day if my line isn’t working. The workers depend on the phones.”
But workers at other companies said they were unfazed.
“Things happen,” said Annie Farrell.