Seniors Suffer in Dark After Sandy

In Coney Island High Rise, Waiting for Power and Hope

By Seth Berkman

Published November 06, 2012, issue of November 16, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page
Video: Nate Lavey


When Janet Greenblat heard that Hurricane Sandy was heading toward New York, she wasn’t too concerned. Since 1982, Greenblat, 68, has lived in the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses in Brooklyn, a five-building co-op that runs on electricity provided by its own power plant.

During citywide blackouts, when the rest of New York was dark, the lights stayed on at the Warbasse Houses.

Not this time.

More than a week after Sandy hit, Greenblat was sitting in her apartment in a nightgown with no heat, electricity or hot water.

“There’s some kind of an inner confidence that things are going to be OK,” Greenblat said,. “I didn’t even go crazy buying a lot of water because I knew in my mind that we had our own generator and we’re also supposed to have some kind of backup generator as well. So if one fails, it goes into the backup.

“And that didn’t happen.”

The systematic failure left residents of Warbasse’s 2,585 apartments walking around in the dark with flashlights or lighted headbands for more than a week, searching for answers.

According to the housing complex’s website, two steam turbine generators are able to produce 6,000 kilowatts per hour. Only one generator is regularly used, with the second as a backup. The power plant was also built with a diesel generator, “in case of electrical interruption.”

Warbasse resident Anya Klozner said that the elevator system was shut off at around 7 p.m. the night before the hurricane made landfall in New York. Two hours earlier, Klozner, 30, received a flyer underneath her door to evacuate the building.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.