Oct. 16, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Con Edison says it will address temporary wiring that has been strung up across a small portion of 31st Avenue – from a pole to a tree to a fire escape – for nearly a year.
Spokesperson Philip O’Brien described the setup as a shunt, or “a big professional extension cord,” which was put in on 31st Avenue at 34th Street last November. The wiring zig-zags over and under the street, tied to buildings and a tree and reaching down into business basements and into the ground at 34-07 31st Ave.
O’Brien said work to replace permanent cables will be complete by October 19, with the shunt removed “a short amount of time” afterwards.
The shunt was originally put up in November due to an increase in power usage.
However, deeper problems were revealed in July, when the wiring overheated and a fire broke out in the basement of Diamond Dogs, a bar at 34-04 31st Ave. O’Brien said that Con Edison decided to upgrade service as a result, culminating in the work that will take place this week.
O’Brien was unable to specify Con Edison’s original plan between November and July.
July’s fire kicked off a tumultuous summer of outages for business owners on the block, which also include Oboni Opsora Deli, and the restaurants Djerdan Burek, Golden Dragon, and Il Bambino.
“We couldn’t do anything, we can’t work [during an outage],” Annie Chen at Golden Dragon noted. “I lost a lot of business.”
Both Selma Medunjanin, Djerdan Burek owner, and Ryan Keogh, Il Bambino manager, estimated that their businesses lost about $2,000 total from closures during outages.
Aside from power problems, a year of dangling exterior wires has been an inconvenience for these businesses, several said.
“I can’t believe these wires are hanging with all these people walking around all day long,” Medunjanin said.
Although the neighboring Zenon Taverna was not involved in the power problems, manager Dora Papageorgiou said, “it’s frustrating seeing all those wires.”
“It’s unacceptable nowadays, to be like that, for that long.”
Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]