MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of tenants in a Mount Vernon apartment building have been living without an elevator for more than a month, and that has left some seniors trapped in their homes.
CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez explains how the pandemic added to the delay to get the elevator fixed.READ MORE: Primary Election Day Guide For Voters In New York
Forget about the gym: Surrano Morgan and his wife get quite the workout just coming home with groceries.
On Wednesday, the were lugging a case of water and bags of food up six floor to their Mount Vernon apartment at 55 Pennsylvania Ave.
“It’s not easy going up and down the stairs with the laundry and stuff, the groceries,” Morgan said.
They’d take the elevator, but it has been out of service for five weeks.
“Tell me what its been like for you guys that past five weeks?” Sanchez asked.
“Horrible. Terrible. And I’m 70 years old, so you know, it’s rough,” said Rodney Garrett.
Garrett said it’s a struggle walking up and down six flight as a healthy and strong 70-year-old. Other seniors are trapped in their homes.
“There’s a lot of older people in here that have walkers and stuff. They can’t go downstairs. They have to stay upstairs. They can’t do their laundry, nothing,” Garrett said.READ MORE: NYC Mayoral Candidates Make Last-Minute Push For Votes Ahead Of Tuesday's Primary
The Department of Buildings said it has received tenant complaint about the elevator, and put the building owner on notice. Sanchez spoke with him by phone.
“I apologize for their hardships, and we are doing the best we can,” owner Joe Ofeck said.
Ofeck said repairs are delayed because the aging elevator’s broken parts aren’t available anymore.
“This is an old building and they had to manufacture these parts,” Ofeck said. “These parts don’t exist. So the machine shops, they have to make the parts and this is time consuming.”
Ofeck said the repair cost $50,000, adding the pandemic slowed down the process and made expediting the fix unaffordable.
“You know, with COVID, there’s a lot of people that didn’t pay us,” Ofeck said.
Management signs say the elevator will be back in service May 27. The owner is now telling tenants it may take longer.
“Hoping it would be back up before Friday,” Morgan said.MORE NEWS: More Violence On Subways: Police Say Tourist Hit With Bottle, Man Slashed In Separate Attacks
The mayor is aware of the tenants’ struggle. The DOB is closely monitoring the status of the elevator repair and said it will take action when necessary.