A handful of residents at 327 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue have not had any gas for cooking since February, the Daily News reported.
The article focused on longtime building resident Georgina Christ.
[She] hasn’t been able to use her stove since February. And for her, that means no home-cooked bone broth — and more trips to the grocery store for provisions at a time she’d rather stay in.
"It makes me have to go out more," said the 70-year-old, who's lived on the fifth floor of a sixth-story walk up since 1971. "I find I'm having to walk in the middle of the street to avoid people who are drinking and hanging out on the sidewalk without face masks."
Christ and at least four other tenants are without cooking gas.
Last week, local elected officials — Sen. Brad Hoylman, Congresswoman Carolyn Mahoney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Deborah Glick and City Council Member Carlina Rivera — sent a letter to the building's management, Silverstone Property Group.
The letter reads in part:
The provision of reliable gas service is a crucial responsibility for property management companies and landlords regardless of the circumstances, but especially during the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, four of these tenants fall squarely within the demographics proven to be most vulnerable to COVID-19, and it is wrong to require them to continually risk exposure to the virus simply to secure meals.
We strongly urge Silverstone Property Group to restore gas service to these tenants as soon as possible and provide them with a 15% rent abatement, standard for diminution of services of this kind, for the period of time that they have been without gas service. These are stressful, difficult times for everyone, and these tenants shouldn’t have to worry about how they will be able to cook their meals on top of the other burdens that so many tenants are currently facing.
Silverstone did provide hot plates, though they reportedly aren't too functional.
A Silverstone spokesperson told the News that they are "ready, willing and able to repair the gas lines at the property as soon as possible."
However: "In order to do so, the property must be vacated according to engineering experts Silverstone has consulted."
Christ said that she is skeptical, and thinks this is "a ploy to empty the building and jack up rents."
No. 327 was among the many East Village properties that disgraced landlord Raphael Toledano owned at one point during his local building grab. He had been accused of harassing rent-stabilized tenants in a bid to vacate and deregulate units in them.
In 2017, a subsidiary of lender Madison Realty Capital took over the portfolio. As of January, Toledano was still mired in bankruptcy proceedings with Madison Realty Capital, per reports.
The listing at Streeteasy describes the building this way:
Most units have been gut-renovated with innovative and luxury finishes. Our design team works to create a rustic/modern look to appeal to a vast array of tastes and lifestyles. 327 East 12th Street is a building combined with beautiful high ceilings that provide an abundance of natural light and fresh air into each residence. Amazing Features Include:
•Wall-mounted 40 inch flat screen TV and soundbar pre-installed in every residence
•Washer and Dryer in every residence
•Ambiance-setting light dimmers
A sister property at 325 E. 12th St. has also suffered cooking-gas blackouts.