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Power Remains Out In Much Of LES High-Rise Complex, Residents Furious

LES High-Rises Without Power

Power remained out more than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy at much of the Knickerbocker Village housing complex on the Lower East Side. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While most of Manhattan had its power restored about four days after Superstorm Sandy, persistent problems in some places continue to make life miserable more than two weeks later for hundreds of elderly and ill residents who have been forced to live in cold, dark high-rises.

As CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported, those residents were demanding answers Tuesday night.

At Knickerbocker Village — a housing complex bounded by Monroe Street, Market Street, Catherine Street and Cherry Street on the Lower East Side – a hallway stunk of rotten eggs Tuesday night.

“It’s a nasty odor that makes you want to throw up,” one resident said.

But the stench was the least of the woman’s problems. She had to use a cooler as a refrigerator.

It was the 16th day without power, and she was also boiling her water. She was lacking hot water, too.

Even her dog was bundled in sweaters.

Trash was piling up, the incinerators were all broken, and out of 12 elevator banks, nearly half were out of service. The elderly residents were left stranded as high as a dozen flights up.

“The coldness is draining and it doesn’t stop; just never gets warm,” said Marcia Kruger, 73.

Kruger said she had spent two weeks as of Tuesday walking 10 flights of stairs a day.

“It makes for a feeling of isolation and abandonment, really,” she said.

“I take about two trips a day,” he said.

Jim Lizzio, 96, said he walks 100 steps a day.

Lizzio’s wife said she was concerned about safety.

“Especially in the dark, with our flashlights it’s ‘Don’t break a hip. Don’t break a leg,’” she said.

Lizzio and his wife were among hundreds demanding answers from management at a meeting Tuesday night at P.S. 1 Alfred E. Smith at 8 Henry St.

“Between now and the end of the week, we should get to a point where everyone has heat and everyone has hot water,” a management official said.

Management claimed that the 100-year-old electrical systems in the basements of the Knickerbocker Village were decimated by flood waters. Afterward came oil spills and fires – hazards that management was not prepared for.

Management said as of Tuesday night, 95 percent of the 1,600-unit complex had power – a claim that residents denied.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the Knickerbocker is just one of several complexes across Manhattan that was never updated to withstand a hurricane.

What would you do if you were stuck in a high-rise apartment without power for two weeks? Leave your comments below…