Tenants that live in the same building that housed the Umbrella Hotel
just off Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens have lived with a constant
barrage of criminal activity, culminating in a fatal shooting on New
Year’s Day that eventually led to the hotel’s closure.
However, the seven remaining tenants say they are now living in their rent-stabilized apartments without heat or hot water.
Rohini Singh, a mother who has lived there since 2017, said the owners and management company have abandoned the building, leaving tenants to fend for themselves.
“We are on our own,” Singh said. “The temperature in my apartment was at 47 degrees this week. I’ve put in two tickets at 311 for heat and hot water. No one has showed up at my apartment to check anything.”
She added that the front doors are locked, which means that mail cannot be delivered, while basic maintenance like trash removal have completely vanished.
Jonathan Kastin, another resident in the building, has heat, but no hot water. He has taken it upon himself to serve as a make-shift tenants’ association leader.
“People are worried, scared and they’re suffering,” Kastin said. “They’re sitting there, living in their winter coats. I don’t know how they manage it.”
He said a worker came to the building on Friday to fix his hot water, but refused to hear any other tenant complaints.
“I said, ‘There are other tenants here and they are having heat and hot water problems,’” Kastin said. “She’s like ‘I’m just responding to my own ticket. Let them put in their own ticket.’ It was crazy. She just didn’t want to know about anything.”
He also worried about the elevators in the building. Two out of the three do not work, with the third being unreliable.
“The next time the elevator breaks, those of us on the top floor will be stranded,” Kastin said.
A notice posted in the building the day after the hotel closed advised residents to begin looking for another apartment immediately.
“It’s a hilarious notice, if it weren’t so awful” Kastin said. “They never communicated about conditions in the building. They would never send us emails, they would never talk to us.