Lehman Houses residents frustrated after dealing with frequently broken elevators

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Residents in the Lehman Houses in East Harlem are voicing their frustration as their elevators have been broken for weeks.

"I'm on 18th floor and I can't keep walking up and down," resident Rosa Reyes said.

Reyes and many residents complain the elevators have been breaking down daily the last three weeks, leaving residents stranded either on their upper floors or outside.

"It's horrible. You're a prisoner upstairs," Reyes said. She just happens to live on the 18th floor.

"We pay our rent on time, we do everything they ask us, but we don't get service that we need," Tenants Association President Patricia Burns said.

Louis Irizarry is 77-years-old and legally blind. He says the elevator has even broken down while he was in it.

"I have to walk up to the 17th floor many, many times," Irizarry said.

Alice Rodriguez bought groceries for her mother on the 9th floor, only to find the elevators out of service again. She waited hours in the hot lobby. Finally, our photographer helped haul her heavy cart of perishables upstairs.

Indeed the stairwell was busy for those on the lower floors and able to walk. But for the elderly, those with physical impairments or on the upper floors of the 20-story building, broken elevators are punishing.

"I got all this laundry. It's dry. I'm going to have to be Hercules and take it upstairs," said Orlando Fonsecca, whose father is a tenant.

Finally, help arrived Monday night as NYCHA workers got the elevators working again.

"They'll come in, they'll fix it and within 2 or 3 hours, they're broken again," Reyes said.

The elevators are working again, but residents are skeptical about how long they'll be in service.

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