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Midtown West Tenants Have Gone Four Months Without Gas

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A lot of New Yorkers might use their ovens for storage, but if they ever felt like whipping up a casserole, they'd be able to, but tenants of 442 Tenth Avenue near the corner of West 35th Street haven't had that option since May, when gas service to the building was cut off. And it's not the only issue they've had to contend with; holes in the ceiling, a lack of hot water, hallway obstacle courses, and broken windows have plagued the building for months because of ongoing construction.

The building and its neighbor to the south, 440 Tenth Avenue, were acquired by Silverstone Property Group in November 2013 and the company is renovating both buildings. Donnie Hochberg, chief operating officer at Silverstone, told Curbed that the renovation is behind some of the issues experienced by the tenants, but not the gas, hot water, or holes in the ceilings, which are all connected.

In May, there was a report of a gas leak, which was determined to be coming from an old capped flue line, according to Hochberg, who said that line used to be for gas-fueled lighting. To be safe, all four of the gas risers that are currently in use had to also be shut off and inspected. That meant punching holes in tenants' ceilings; in the case of the tenant that reached out to Curbed, it was her kitchen. Shutting off the gas also meant no hot water. To solve that problem, the hot water system in 442 was connected to 440, a system that the tenant contends supplies inferior hot water. There was a time without any hot water, but there is disagreement as to how long that was. The tenant says it was about a month, while Hochberg contends it was about two weeks. Either way, the Department of Buildings inspection was finally completed on September 1 and the hole in her ceiling was finally patched on September 10. Hochberg said they were waiting for a letter from the DOB that they can give to Con Edison to have the gas turned back on.

The rest of the issues are all connected to the renovation of the building, the eventual result of which Hochberg said the tenants should be excited for and not complain about. That includes shutdowns of all water, which, if you live in an old enough apartment building, you know happen all the time for regular maintenance, though the tenant denies Hochberg's assertion that all shutdowns have been announced and short-term.

The building's hallways were also being re-tiled, a situation the tenant described as creating "obstacle courses." The re-tiling (which included covering up a somewhat ornate original floor in the entryway) is done, but some of the new tiles already share a divot. The renovation also includes new windows, but the tenant reported that before the replacements come in, some broken ones have just been left that way for months.

It's also worth noting that all of the tenants are about to probably have new complaints because an 18-story hotel is reportedly going up at 444 Tenth Avenue.

—Evan Bindelglass is a local freelance journalist, photographer, cinephile, and foodie. You can e-mail him, follow him on Twitter @evabin, or check out his personal blog.
#&183; Tenant Beefs coverage [Curbed]