Shattered Mill Basin poles left dangling from wires for weeks, residents say

Leaning poll of terror: Con Edison left these polls dangling over E. 55th Street for two weeks, despite pleas from residents for help.
Photo by Tom Boston

Two power towers that snapped during Hurricane Sandy were left hanging in the air by its cables on E. 55th Street for nearly two weeks, putting pedestrians in danger, say residents who claim that Con Edison did nothing to amend the hazard.

“I was so terrified, just watching these poles sway back and forth,” said Diane Boston, whose E. 55th Street home between Avenues M and N sat perilously in the shadow of the dangling poles. “These things were going to come down and kill somebody.”

As Hurricane Sandy ravaged the southern coast of Brooklyn on Oct. 29, Tom and Diane Boston’s neighbors’ tree was knocked off its roots and fell into the poles, which remained aloft only by the web of cables and power lines it remained attached to.

On behalf of his block, Tom Boston registered several requests for aid from Con Edison to cut the dangling poles from their precarious moorings — a vital complaint he says Con Edison managed to misplace.

“So we put the request in, we didn’t get response, and when we called them they didn’t have a number for it,” Boston explained.

Boston said his home was one of the few that still had power, so the Mill Basin resident had friends coming and going as they availed themselves to the much-needed utility.

All of them had to walk past the two poles, he explained.

“My house was Grand Central,” he said. “I had people coming over in the morning to make coffee, charge their cellphones, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and just to warm up, and they were walking under these poles that could have come down at any time.”

The pole hazard grew to become even more urgent when the nor’easter struck on Nov. 7 and the precarious logs became laden with heavy snow.

“After the nor’easter, the only thing holding those poles up were somebody’s cable,” said Diane Boston. “That thing was going back and forth all night.”

Con Edison ultimately replaced the poles on Saturday.

When contacted, a utility spokesman said his company did the best it could under the circumstances.

“I’m sure they are upset. However that situation, during circumstances when you have a million people without power and 100,000 power lines down, is not unique,” said Con Edison spokesman Bob McGee.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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