It's been nearly four years since Hurricane Sandy, but Coney Island is still recovering. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
The Warbasse Houses on Coney Island has its own power supply. So when Hurricane Sandy swept through, swamping its underground transformers with water, management had to find its own solution.
'We immediately had to shut down our power plant because of the Coney Island Creek overflowing. So we had to find generators," said Michael Silverman, board president of the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses.
"We had no water, not for our toilets, not to drink. We had no heat. Everything was dark," said Barbara Teitelbaum, board member at the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses.
Restoring power permanently to the 2,500 apartments meant building transformer substations eight feet above ground to adhere to federal floodplain guidelines. To pay for the repairs, management had to take out a second mortgage.
"The substations alone, for example, were over $8 million," Silverman said. "We did not have the reserves. Nobody has the reserves like that. We're middle-income."
"With 'Build It Back,' there was so much focus on the single-family homes that many people lost sight of the multi-family buildings," said City Council Mark Treyger of Brooklyn.
Warbasse was initially told it wasn't eligible for help under the city's Build it Back program, but that was a mistake. The city has just awarded the development $2.4 million for storm-related expenses.
Still, the Sandy recovery in the neighborhood is far from over. Temporary boilers are still hooked up to more than half a dozen schools.
"We want to see this September, this upcoming school year, kids off to a start where they have regular boilers," Treyger said. "We're not asking for luxury items here. We want the basics."
Just last month, the School Construction Authority awarded $135 million in contracts to make permanent repairs. Some of that work is beginning this summer. But temporary boilers are still an eyesore at NYCHA complexes throughout the area, even though federal Sandy relief legislation included $3 billion for recovery and resilency projects in public housing.
The first NYCHA upgrade is scheduled to happen at Surfside Gardens this month.