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Couple Above Still-Shuttered Carnegie Deli Lives Without Heat, Hot Water

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An elderly Midtown couple living above the Carnegie Deli has gone without hot water or heat for months.

The couple, Pasquale and Elsie Forino, told CBS2's Mark Morgan they are looking for answers before the cold weather arrives.

"I'm not looking forward to the next couple of weeks without heat," Pasquale Forino said.

The Forinos have gone six months without heat or hot water, ever since an illegal gas line hookup in the famous Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue below their Midtown apartment forced the deli to close in April.

And now, the couple, in their 80s, continues to search for answers.

"Every month, you know, they think there's going to be an inspection, whatever -- and it's the same thing," Elise Forino said.

Marian Haroer-Levine, the president of the Carnegie Deli and owner of the Forinos' building, released a statement:

"We continue to work closely with Con Edison and other agencies on finalizing the upgrades to our building, so our tenants have the utilities that they need.

"We have been fully cooperative with the requirements to restore gas.

"We are hoping to be able to provide the utilities for our tenants as soon as possible, as well as reopening our doors once again."

The Forinos have not been charged rent as they have been waiting for their services to return. Elsie Forino cooks with a hot plate, a hot water boiler is used for any warm bathing, and the couple has just purchased a space heater.

The couple has lived in the apartment for 57 years. But they have only eaten at the Carnegie Deli once.

"It was probably cheesecake and coffee, 50 years ago," Pasquale Forino said.

But the couple's affection for their apartment and the neighborhood is obvious, and that is why they plan on staying put -- whatever the next few months bring.

"I have three layers on, but usually I have four layers on," Elsie Forino said, "and it's not even winter yet."

The deli has several signs dated just over a month ago, saying it will reopen "as soon as possible."

A Con Edison spokesman told CBS2 that all work has been completed on its end, and the utility is waiting for the Carnegie Deli building management company to finish work before an inspection and reconnection can be performed.

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