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Photo by Patrick Donachie
Norman Schiffman points out the streetlamp he says has been broken since early March. Norman and his wife Miriam say the area of the street turns pitch black in the evening.
By Patrick Donachie

Residents on a Queens Village street are increasingly concerned about a streetlight they claim has not worked for months after repeated inquiries to city departments and Con Edison.

“It’s very dark, it’s pitch black at night,” Miriam Schiffman, 88, said while sitting in the living room of her home on 221st Street between 89th and 90th avenues in Queens Village. “It’s become a quality-of-life issue.”

Directly across the street was the street light in question, who Miriam and her husband Norman, 93, said had been out of service since March 4. Miriam said they immediately called 311, and learned two weeks later that the issue had been referred to Con Ed. Afterwards, there were several months of back-and-forths between 311, the NYC DOT and Con Ed. Miriam Schiffman said the couple reached out to the offices of state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis) and Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) for assistance.

Her husband said that a few weeks after the initial 311 call, some Con Edison employees had pulled the manhole and worked underneath the street, but the light continued to remain dark. Norman Schiffman said employees of Welsbach Electric had come to replace all the bulbs in the street’s lampposts with high-powered LED bulbs. While there, Norman Schiffman said the employees checked to see what the problem was with the defective street lamp.

“They said there was no power to the pole,” he said. “There was definitely no power coming through.”

The couple were one of several seniors on the block, they said, along with the man who lives in the home directly in front of the defective light. They said people were afraid of tripping and were also increasingly anxious about safety.

A spokesman for Con Ed said it had contacted the DOT in April to tell the agency that the concrete foundation of the lamppost needed to be repaired before the utility could restore power. Norman Schiffman disputed the assertion, saying he believed there was no issue with the concrete.

“They’ve had plenty of chances to fix this light,” he said.

As of Tuesday the light was still dark, but on Wednesday a DOT source said the organization was aware of the problem and the light would be inspected that evening.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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