No streetlight for a year: Can 7 On Your Side light up Queens neighborhood?

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
No streetlight for a year: Can 7 On Your Side light up Queens residents' life?
There are more than 315,000 streetlights in the naked city. This is the story of one of them that went dark last summer. Nina Pineda has more.

NEW HYDE PARK, Queens (WABC) -- There are more than 315,000 streetlights in the naked city. This is the story of one of them that went dark last summer.

In the last 12 months, scores of Queens residents say they've been on a frustrating odyssey making complaints to the city that they say went nowhere until they got 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda on the case.

"It's very dark around here," said Mike Murray, a homeowner. "When I get out of the car I can hardly see where I'm going."

When the sun sets on Murray's home of 45 years, his block is pitch black, making any outdoor trek treacherous for this senior who uses a walker.

"I don't want to end up in the hospital," he said.

A streetlight used to bathe the block in light, but a year ago, it suddenly went out.

"I don't want to see one of my neighbors being hurt," said Rob Thomas, Sr., a 35-year resident.

The busted beacon is in front of Thomas's house. Last August, worried about his elderly neighbors, he started complaining to the city to fix it.

"There's not enough light and people could trip," Thomas, Sr. said.

The DOT says unless it's an emergency like a fallen pole, they investigate within 10 days. For major repairs, it only states it could "take longer."

"We've contacted the city about 15-20 times for the past year," Rob Thomas, Jr. said.

Rob says days after his complaint contractors came out. taking the streetlight down leaving behind this metal base with a traffic cone on top.

"We've had the base and a cone there for the past year now. There's no momentum happening at all from the city," Thomas, Jr. said.

Rob and his neighbors kept calling the 311, but each time, the DOT closed each complaint saying exactly the same thing - their "contractor reported it's repaired" and the "streetlight is working."

"They have it as the light as up and working now," Thomas, Sr. said.

"And is it?" Pineda asked.

"No, it's just a base and a cone," he said.

After 7 On Your Side saw this and heard their story we contacted the city to see what was up with this streetlight.

Within days, the first DOT retrofitted the base and Con Ed came out and wired the light, running electricity from the beneath the street.

What a difference a week makes. Eight days after 7 On Your Side got involved, "let there be light," Pineda said.

Finally, a year later, their block went from dark frustration to a flood of light.

"I'm happy. Very happy," a resident said.

The DOT thanked 7 On Your Side for bringing this problem to their attention.

"It's been like a whole year with the city not able to us get this resolved," Thomas, Jr. said. "7 On Your Side got it fixed in a couple of days."

And Rob Thomas, Jr. and his dad gave Nina Pineda the ultimate honor, informally dedicating his new streetlight to her.

"Thank you very much," Pineda said. "So cute."

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