The heating system at the Upper West Side NYCHA complex at 830 Amsterdam Avenue appears to be back up and running after years of shoddy service.
The development, which houses 346 people, including 72 people over sixty years of age and 45 who self-identify as mobility-impaired, had long suffered from an outdated heating system.
According to a state revitalization plan from September 2019, city officials received funding to replace the boilers in 830 Amsterdam, scheduled to be completed before 2023. The financing came as part of a larger agreement that gave the city $450 million to replace boilers and elevators in several NYCHA buildings.
The 830 Amsterdam building manager’s office and the NYCHA customer contact center did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation that the boilers have already been replaced. But several residents say the heating conditions have improved in the past year.
Tenant Angel Perez says heating in his apartment has been adequate so far this year. “For now it’s okay,” he acknowledged, but said “they could do better.”
While residents say they are pleased to have heat going into this winter, several voiced other concerns about living conditions at 830 Amsterdam. Tenants say the building still suffers from many of the issues that have long plagued public housing in New York, such as roach infestations, burst pipes, and inconsistent maintenance.
“My grandmother’s stove is broken,” said Shiomara Díaz, a tenant who says she tries to help her grandmother and other fellow residents contact NYCHA authorities to get the services they need.
“I had to call four times. It’s a repetitive cycle of calling the main office ... it’s a whole rigmarole.” Further, some tenants report that warmth remains a concern despite the improvements, with heat still failing intermittently.
“I had to complain just to get heat on this winter. I asked around, and nobody said the heat was on,” said Díaz.
“It’s ridiculous you have to call,” she continued. “It’s already October, November and you have to call to get anything fixed.”
According to a 2020 release from the Legal Aid Society, over a hundred thousand NYCHA residents suffered heat, hot water, or complete water outages during the winter of 2019-2020.
This past August, tenants of Queensbridge Houses, another NYCHA complex, filed a lawsuit against the city for failing to fix what they described as hazardous living conditions. Among their complaints were allegations of heat outages leading to dangerously cold temperatures. The lawsuit, recently class-action certified, is ongoing.