Bronx residents coping without heat or gas during bitter cold

RIVERDALE, Bronx (WABC) -- Residents of a building in the Bronx have been forced to go without gas or heat during the coldest stretch of the season.

"Right now it's not on and how cold is it? It's the coldest day of the year," said Sydney Mattera, who huddled together with her college roommates under blankets in the cold.

The roommates' apartment, like all of them in the building on Greystone Avenue in Riverdale, hasn't had heat for most of the winter.

Legally, landlords have to keep apartments at a minimum of 68 degrees during the day but in the roommates' apartment, it was 55.

The stove doesn't work either, and hasn't since September when gas in the entire building was turned off, so the college students can't cook and have to spend money on eating out.

The five kids who live there have to use a hot plate to cook on, and two of their electrical outlets don't work.

"We chose to live off campus because it's cheaper but it turned out to be more in the end because we don't have a meal plan," Mattera said.

"We eat out a lot and when we do cook it takes like an hour to do a pot of rice," said Erica Zoungrana, who also lives in the building with her family, and 9-year-old Lia is done with winter.

"I don't like it, I'm a big fan of the heat and now we're getting really upset," she said.

The building has been mostly unresponsive. "It's outrageous," said City Councilman Andrew Cohen. "The only thing that happens promptly in this building is that the rent bills go out. But in terms of services, it's just delay, delay, delay."

And now more delay. Park Drive Management told Eyewitness News Thursday night that gas won't be restored in the building for two to three weeks.

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