July 7, By Jason Cohen
A business on the Lefferts Blvd. Bridge in Kew Gardens has had electrical outages for nearly two weeks and its power may not be fully restored anytime soon.
PK’s Farm Fresh, a grocery store at 81-15 Lefferts Blvd, has had electrical issues since Ajai Gupta became the owner two years ago. However, in recent weeks it has deteriorated resulting in his produce going bad with his refrigerators going down. Gupta contacted property manager Zee N Kay Management of Long Island asking it to fix the problem. He claims that the management company is responsible.
Gupta’s store is located on the bridge, which has been falling apart for several years and is in dire need of repair. The decay has resulted in flooding and power issues for the stores above it. The MTA and LIRR own the bridge and surrounding land. Zee N Kay is in charge of leasing the commercial space to store owners.
Gupta said that he has only had partial electricity since June 26 and Zee N Kay hired a licensed electrician who began work began on June 29. However, on Monday, an MTA Fire Marshall demanded the electrician stop work–issuing a stop work order–saying the agency needed to approve all electrical plans.
“Safety is the top priority for the MTA, and because these plans were not submitted to the MTA as required, we put a halt to the unapproved work,” a spokesman for the MTA said. We will expedite review to ensure they’re approved as quickly as possible.”
Kunal Kapoor, a representative of Zee N Kay, said that the MTA got involved after a resident complained about the electrician.
Kapoor claims that Gupta “is trying to manipulate the community” to blame Zee N Kay for his lack of electricity. Kapoor said that store owners are responsible for upgrading and maintaining their own electricity, but when his firm found out that the electricity was tripping to a point that it posed a danger to the building, it hired a licensed electrician to perform the necessary repairs.
Now, with minimal power in his store, Gupta has had to throw out all of his fruits, veggies and meat and has lost customers. He has no idea how long it will it will take for the MTA to approve the plans or for the work to be done.
Gupta said he is at a loss for words and not sure what his next steps are.
“Electricity has been an issue from day one [since opening],” he said. “How can they think it’s my responsibility?”
Kapoor said the company has hired an electrical engineer, who is in the process of submitting plans.
“We do not know how long the LIRR will take to approve these plans,” Kapoor said. “Once they approve the plans, our licensed electrician will be able to complete the repairs immediately after.”