Elevator Outages Bring Misery to a NYC High-Rise

The dangerous and extremely inconvenient situation has dragged on for months
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2022 9:20 AM CDT
Elevator Woes Have Created Hell at One NYC High-Rise
   (Getty - Alexandr Baranov)

Walk-up apartments and broken elevators are relatively common inconveniences in New York City, but residents of Twenty Exchange—an historic, 59-story luxury building in the Financial District—have certainly earned the right to gripe, which they exercised in a Monday news conference. Local officials were also there, per CBS New York, including State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who declared, "It's time for the building, for Con Ed, and for the city of New York to get together and resolve this." Since November, residents above the 15th floor have been stymied by repeated elevator outages "that have turned daily life upside down and trapped residents with mobility issues inside their apartments," according to the New York Times, which interviewed more than a dozen residents.

While one "young software engineer" is seizing the opportunity train for the Tunnels to Towers charity climb, others have no silver lining. Nurse Erin Campbell is often forced to hike to and from the 48th floor between her 12-hour shifts. Gina Chen was okay on the 22nd floor until she fractured her foot. "It’s a privilege that we are able to afford to live here," she said (a one-bedroom can cost $5,000 a month), "but we did not sign up to live in gilded cages." Safety and security are obvious concerns. As one resident puts it to CBS, "What if it’s paramedics? What if it's police and … somebody just can’t be reached in time?"

Building owners blame Con Edison equipment, but the power company denies fault. Both have enlisted a small army of engineers and others to investigate. Residents are being offered short-term remedies, including the ability to break their leases, though as one resident notes on Yelp, "you can't even move out when the elevators don't work.. so good luck trying to get your stuff down from the 54th floor." Curbed quotes another reviewer advising others to choose a building "where you can actually utilize your apartment unit," adding, "Currently writing this review while trapped in an elevator hanging hundreds of feet in the air." (Read more New York City stories.)

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