After temporary eviction due to Second Ave. Subway work, residents to return home

By Patrick Egan | October 22, 2010 07:30PM

Residents at 1873 Second Avenue say period leading up to the move out proved difficult

The displaced residents of 1873 Second Avenue will soon be able to move back into their homes after a nearly two-month relocation forced upon them by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as construction work on the new Second Avenue Subway line continues, according a letter to residents dated Wednesday.

The letter says: “The Second Avenue Subway’s work in the residential tenant spaces, including painting… will be completed by Nov. 5-6… your apartment will be ready for occupancy and your return on Sat., Nov. 6” (see letter below).

In March, each resident of the 12-unit Bradford N. Swett Management-managed building between 96th and 97th streets received a letter from the MTA informing them that they would have to leave their homes for 30 to 60 days because of construction work. That letter indicated that the basement, first floor and façade at 1873 Second Avenue between 96th and 97th streets needed reinforcing. At the time, an MTA official estimated that relocations would begin about a month later.

One month turned into more than four. Residents started moving out Sept. 11, according to Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesperson. He said that all the construction went “according to plan.”

But the period leading up to the move proved difficult.

“It was exceptionally frustrating,” said one resident, who wished to remain anonymous. “We got nothing in writing. We always had to call with our questions and the relocation people gave very political answers. They were never straightforward.”

In fact, the resident said they didn’t receive formal notification of the exact move date until the Wednesday before the Saturday on which it was to happen.

The resident did praise the MTA for several elements of the relocation, saying that everyone received $700 toward moving their personal belongings to temporary quarters, adding that those quarters were excellent. Eight of the residents moved to the Marmara Manhattan, a luxury long-term rental a few blocks away. The resident also was impressed by Time Moving and Storage, which handled moving the larger items in a “very professional manner.”

Just this week, O.R. Colan Associates, the firm handling the relocation on the MTA’s behalf, sent letters to the residents indicating that they could move back into their apartments Nov. 6. The letter asks residents to “please be present at your apartment Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to meet the locksmith.”

Residents should probably be looking forward to returning home more than they are.

“The neighborhood is a mess,” said the anonymous resident. “You can’t get a cab anymore. Businesses are suffering. We get woken in the middle of the night because construction crews don’t pay attention to the rules.” The resident is worried about what she’ll return home to. Early construction had showered asbestos dust and lead paint chips everywhere, she said, adding that they were told they’d get new appliances and fresh paint jobs but haven’t received confirmation in writing.

Delores Singletary, the project manager for O.R. Corlans and Associates, did not return a call for comment.

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