Day 157 of self-isolation and Day 18 of being displaced.
Some good news: the other tenants and I were given the okay to move back in (except one unit, who has water damaged in their basement bedroom). The city finally sent an inspector after 15 days, and he/she said we can finally return to our apartments.
It’s a great relief, but we won’t have gas in our apartments — that means no hot water, use of our stoves and ovens, or have heat. Our landlord wrote that a plumber is coming to install an electric water heater and would supply hotplates to each unit. As someone who cooks and bakes a lot, having no gas is a bit of a hindrance. Thank goodness I caved in a couple of years ago and bought a microwave.
Of course, the heat does worry me. It gets cold in my apartment in the winter, and after reading a bunch of Reddit threads, NYC has a habit of not turning on the gas for months on end — and this is pre-pandemic. New York requires a “Master Plumber” to turn on the gas or authorize the local gas company to turn it on. However, after looking at the Department of Building’s website, a lot of Master Plumbers on their list were discredited and had their licenses revoked for “incompetence” or “shoddy work.” Additionally, after talking to my real estate friend, turning on the gas is a slow and bureaucratic process. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and who knows when I’ll have heating and cooking gas again. Honestly, for one of the greatest and most expensive cities in America, how is New York so fucking shitty in helping its tax-paying residents?
By the way, still no response from my council member.
The one saving grace in this entire situation is that our landlord is pro-rating our rent for the time we were evacuated. He even mentioned that he’ll reduce our rent until our gas gets turned back on. Now I’ve dealt with a lot of landlords while living here, and I have to admit my current one is pretty decent. My other landlords refused to fix leaky holes in the ceiling or a burst water pipe or even the building’s door — all the while increasing my rent. I’ve lived in my current, rent-stabilized building for 4 years, and my landlord has yet to bump up my rent.
Overall, however, the picture of living in New York isn’t as dreamy or as ambitious as when I first moved here. My years are limited in this city, and I’m waiting for that final straw that will make me go, “Fuck you, NYC”, pack my bags, and move West.