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For Mark Thomas, Christmas really is toast this year. No turkey. No mashed potatoes and gravy. No sweet potato pie, his favorite.
His cooking gas is off — and has been for almost three months. All he has is a hot plate and a slow cooker.
Thomas and about 100 of his neighbors in the Housing Authority’s Brownstones have been without their stoves for nearly three months, getting by on takeout, sandwiches, and anything that can be nuked or toasted.
“It’s not going to be much of a Christmas,” Thomas, 62, told The Post. “I guess I’ll find something in the freezer. I think I have a Cornish hen that I can fry.”
The Brownstones, 36 buildings on the Upper West Side, has a history of gas leaks. One leak in 2018 hobbled two of the walk-ups for much of the year. This time, ConEd had to shut off the gas trunkline to 11 buildings, lined up on West 91st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
Built in the late 1800s, the buildings are chockfull of curved pipes wrapped in asbestos.
“The difficulty lies in the configurations of the buildings,” NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt told The Post.
Housing officials called five repair companies: One didn’t respond and the other four either refused to bid or wouldn’t submit a bid or blueprints.
Now, after 10 weeks, NYCHA finally has found an asbestos contractor willing to bid. Next, comes the plumbing. Until both proposals come in, the housing authority doesn’t know what the price tag will be or when the work might be done.
NYCHA handed out single-burner hot plates to the 100 Brownstones residents, Goldblatt said, and will deliver hot meals for the next few months, including on Christmas Day. The head of the tenant association, Cynthia Tibbs, came to the rescue with 80 slow cookers.
Taihisha Joyner is using her hot plate to fix lunch for the eight little ones who come to her licensed day-care center. The youngest is 6 months, the oldest 2 years.
“It’s horrible,” Joyner, 47, told The Post. “I’m literally making one thing at a time for the little babies.”
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