Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fix in on cold bldg.

Click here: New York Daily News - City News - The fix is in on cold bldg.

Fix in on cold bldg.


Heat was finally restored to all but two apartments at the Harlem icebox on W. 131st St. and Convent Ave. yesterday, but tenants of another building just blocks away had to struggle through the blizzard without any warmth.

With the outside temperature hovering at 15 degrees and an icy wind blowing the snow horizontally, city crews repaired the heater in the basement and covered gaps in the windows of the six-story, 104-unit apartment building at 450 W. 131st St. whose frigid plight was revealed by the Daily News last week.

The inside temperature had plummeted into the low 40s.

"We believe at this point that the units have appropriate heat," said Carol Abrams, a spokeswoman for the Housing Preservation and Development Department, who said two apartments do not yet have heat only because their owners were not home yesterday.

Just two blocks south, however, at 12 W. 129th St. near Fifth Ave., all but a trio of hardy tenants have fled a three-story apartment building that has been without heat all winter because of a dispute with its church landlord.

"This has been going on ever since it got cold," said resident Allen Baskerville, 69, an Army veteran and retired postal worker as he stared at an ice block that had formed on his kitchen counter.

Twelve people have moved out of the building in the past two months after the landlord - Christ Temple of Apostolic Faith Inc. of W. 128th St. - turned off the heat and stopped making repairs, like ignoring the hole in the lobby's ceiling, housing activist Kim Smith said.

Some people were given eviction notices, but they don't take effect until at least next month.

"It's freezing in here," said Smith, who said the church was looking to sell the property. "I hate to say it, but you know the standards of slumlords - when they want you out, they turn off the heat."

Calls to the church were not returned late yesterday, and Baskerville seemed resigned to honoring his Feb. 1 eviction notice and finding a new home.

"Once they decided to sell this property, it was like 'discard of the seniors,' said Baskerville, whose seven frogs and dozen fish have died in the cold, although his four turtles have survived.

"I don't like the cold but I have to deal with it."

With Don Singleton

Originally published on January 23, 2005

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