Outside, it was sunny and mild, but inside this warehouse on Merrick Boulevard —
"How cold is it in here now? Pretty cold, right?" said Frank Spotorno, the owner of Park Avenue Elevator Designs.
Spotorno is the president of Park Avenue Elevator Designs. In April, he moved his almost 30-year-old business from Astoria to St. Albans. But when he signed up for gas service, National Grid told him it was not taking new customers.
"So, we dealt with the issue by just washing our hands with cold water," Spotorno said.
In May, National Gird imposed a moratorium on new gas connections because the Cuomo administration opposed the pipeline for environmental reasons.
But when the state threatened to revoke its license, the utility last month backed down and lifted the moratorium.
In Queens, however, Spotorno was still waiting.
"No hot water. Freezing!" Spotorno said, putting his hand underneath water pouring from a faucet in his warehouse.
As the weeks went by and the weather turned frigid, he gave his 16 employees paid time off — and worried he might have to close up altogether.
"The other day it was an icebox," Spotorno said. "You could have literally have put food in here and it could have frozen. You cannot have employees working in this environment."
NY1 contacted National Grid and was told the delay was Spotorno's fault. The utility said it was waiting for him to submit an application for new service. But Sportorno gave us a copy of his completed application, dated November 13.
However, while we were interviewing Spotorno at his offices, a National Grid worker, who did not want to appear on camera, stopped in and promised the utility would install a meter and begin gas service in the new year.
"Before my men come back, we're going to have heat! And I want to thank NY1!" Spotorno said. "I don't ever want to hear anybody call any media person fake news. Because it's the news that gets the job done."
Now, instead of closing its doors in 2020, business for this Queens elevator company definitely will heat up in the new year.