Kept in the dark: After two months, city won’t say when Ridge streetlights will be repaired

In the dark: Residents of 83rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues have been in the dark for more than two months as the city and Con Edison work to repair busted streetlights.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

This is their darkest hour.

Residents of a Bay Ridge block have been left in the dark for more than two months as the city and a utility company struggle to repair a trio of busted street lamps. Fed up residents are demanding that officials expedite the project and illuminate the block before tragedy strikes.

“It’s pitch dark without the lights — it’s a miracle that a senior hasn’t tripped and busted their hip or something,” said Jonathan Marcello, who is tired of fumbling in the dark when he walks his Jack Russell terrier, Rocky, at night. “I honestly think I can see better in the dark because of this. I feel like a mole person.”

The street lamps went dark in mid-March on 83rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues — but not because of busted bulbs, which the city would have typically fixed within 10 days. Instead, workers discovered that the lampposts have structural damage and require a major overhaul, according to Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of Community Board 10.

Since then, the Department of Transportation and utility company Con Edison have made slow progress with the task — making repairs to the foundations and electrical components of the street lamps, according to Beckmann.

But that work started more than two months ago and residents are still without functioning light poles, leaving locals in the dark about what’s going on, said another resident, with no word from the city or Con Edison.

“All I want to know is when the lights will be fixed,’” said Pat Koob, who has lived on the block for more than a decade. “I called 311 and Con Ed about it and no one can tell me. They just say, ‘Soon.’ It’s frustrating. This isn’t some cosmetic thing, people can’t see — we need the light.”

Con Edison is in the process of “expediting repairs” with the city’s Department of Transportation, but would not offer a date for completion, according to a spokesman for the company. And that’s because repairing the fixtures is no simple task, said a Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

“Given the nature of how the infrastructure is arranged, an in-depth repair process has started this week and is working closely with Con Ed to restore lighting at this location as soon as possible,” said Alana Morales, who also would not offer a time line for the repairs.

Once the city finishes making foundational repairs, according to Beckmann, workers will pass the baton to Con Edison who will rewire the lamps.

“We are waiting for them to complete some work,” said Con Ed spokesman Robert McGee. “When that’s done, we’ll assign a crew to finish the reconnection.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Lights out: This streetlight is one of a trio on the block that have been broken since March.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

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