“She said she only makes $700 a month,” the boy said.
They started walking up again, reaching the fifth floor at 10:26.
“Sometimes, I wish we lived on the first floor,” the boy said.
At 10:39, they arrived at their apartment, where his father answered silently. The boy’s mother said they would turn around and make another trip for more water soon.
Ten floors down, in Apartment 3H, Jeanette Luciano, 50, was getting ready to leave. She needed food, but first she had to get her $702 monthly disability check. The office where she usually gets it was closed. She would have to ride the bus to Harlem.
She was afraid to leave her apartment, her two televisions, her laptop computer. “The last time there was a blackout,” she said, “the apartment downstairs was robbed. Completely robbed.”
Out the door Luciano went, down the stairs, blinking as she emerged from the stairwell and walked into the gray light of the day.
On the sidewalk in front of the building, a crowd clustered around a van. The owner was allowing people to charge their phones off his battery for $2.
A few yards away, Phil Trueba was helping his grandmother into his car, after climbing six floors to her apartment and telling her that he was taking her to the Poconos until the power returned. He had led her down the stairs, and now they were outside, next to Ramel Green, 61, who leaned on a cane after walking down 11 flights.
Green’s plan for the day was a trip by bus to Harlem to visit his ex-wife. Then back before dark to climb his way back to his apartment.
“It’s a poor rat that has one home,” he said. “Ever hear that one?”
On a bench to his right, Jamie Diaz, 67, sat with two jugs of water he had bought for his sister, who was on the ninth floor and too sick to come out.
This, he said in broken English, would be his third trip to her apartment this day. He shook his head, then stood, walked inside the entrance, took out a flashlight and began climbing.
When he reached the first floor, he stopped and put down the jugs. He took a few breaths.
A moment later, he pressed on.