Follow-up Friday: Home, mailbox repairs; finding new home for community fridge

Jene J. Long

NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) — From getting dozens of mailboxes repaired in the Bronx to finding a new home for a community fridge in Harlem, here’s how PIX11’s Monica Morales “made it happen” this week.

Maintenance worker’s home getting repaired

An East Harlem hospital worker said he spends all day helping others, only to come home to a health hazard. Johnny Martinez is a hospital maintenance worker in East Harlem and has been for 27 years.  

Martinez said every day he tries to help others, and at night he comes home to constant leaks and problems.  Martinez has no kitchen cabinets because the wall is damaged by water. He said the water travels down his walls and through his ceiling and it looks like a bubble ready to burst.  Martinez said he’s waited months for a repair crew to fix a pipe and reinstall his sink.  But they never came back.  Duct tape and plastic are covering parts of his bathroom wall. 

Update:  Repairs in Martinez’s home are almost complete.  A NYCHA spokesperson said, “NYCHA staff are currently on site at Lincoln Houses painting the areas that have already been plastered, and the kitchen wall and ceiling have been cemented. We will continue to make repairs until they are complete and the resident’s concerns are addressed. We ask all residents to continue to reach out to NYCHA for any maintenance needs by using the MyNYCHAApp or calling the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.”

Bronx mailboxes repaired

Residents in a Bronx apartment building are frustrated the mailbox locks in their building are broken. Maria Robles said she and her neighbors have tried getting answers from the New York City Housing Authority and the U.S. Post Office to finally fix a broken bank of mailboxes.  She said that’s gone on for more than three months. Some tenants who live in this building on University Avenue said they have missed bills, lost checks and are waiting for letters from loved ones since November.  A broken latch and the panel securing these mailboxes was vandalized and destroyed, Robles said.  

Update:  The mailboxes are fixed.  

Harlem Community Fridge will have new home

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a Harlem community fridge served as a critical source of food for families in the neighborhood.  Now, organizers say it needs a new home. It was back in June of 2020 when PIX11 News first met Sade Boyewa, a longtime community activist and organizer.  Boyewa saw a need in her neighborhood and did something about it.  She started this community fridge in Harlem.  It grew into a movement with dozens of volunteers feeding hundreds of people. For more than two years, it was a beacon of hope and a place to access fresh produce and food. The Harlem Community Fridge sat on the corner of 116th Street and Manhattan Avenue. Boyewa said the deli providing the sidewalk space told her she now has to move. 

Update: Sadio Yaya Barry, the president of Senegalese Association of America, is stepping in and wants to give it a new home.  

If you want to volunteer at the fridge, visit the Harlem Community Fridge Instagram.

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