Saturday, March 28, 2015

Con Ed's latest statement, and the latest theory on the 2nd Avenue explosions


[Photo Thursday by Peter Brownscombe]

The statement is dated last evening at 6:15 … via the Con Ed newsroom

Con Edison this morning shut off gas to 219 customers (187 residential; 32 commercial) in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan while the Fire Department of New York continues recovery work at the site of yesterday’s explosion and buildings collapse on 2nd Avenue near 7th Street.

Meantime, we keep the missing and injured in our thoughts and prayers.

As we do in all cases when a customer is upgrading to a new gas service, we conducted careful inspections at 121 2nd Avenue. Our records show the work of the building’s plumber failed two inspections, including the inspection our personnel conducted yesterday afternoon. At no time was use of the new service line authorized by Con Edison. That service was locked to ensure that it would not be used. The ground-floor restaurant was being served by its current, smaller gas service line.

Con Edison continues to work with the FDNY and NYPD to restore service to customers as soon as it is deemed safe. We have contacted the customers shut off today and have also established an incident workgroup to focus 24/7 on the needs and concerns of all customers who live in the impacted zone.

Safety is always our priority, and we continue to urge people to call 9-1-1 or their gas utility immediately if they smell a gas odor.

The New York Times has an updated story on the explosion. They spoke with Sushi Park owner Hyeonil Kim, who "wondered how the apartments upstairs in the five-story building at 121 Second Avenue had been getting hot water and gas for cooking. The only gas line coming into the building had been dedicated to his restaurant, he said."

Mr. Kim said he believed tenants had started moving into the building’s upstairs floors last summer, after the landlord, Maria Hrynenko, completed renovations. He said he suspected they were getting their gas from the neighboring building, 119 Second Avenue, which city records show is also owned by Ms. Hrynenko. She did not return calls for comment on Friday. Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested at a news conference on Friday that city officials had a similar suspicion.

Read the full article here.

To date, two people remain missing… 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, who was eating at Sushi Park, and 26-year-old Moises Lucon, a busboy at the restaurant.


[Nicholas Figueroa]


[Moises Lucon photo via PIX]

The Post has more about both men here.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this is all true, Maria Hrynenko should be brought up on manslaughter charges.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the landlord would do this. How was she saving money? We have gas in our building, and we all have meters in our apartments and pay our own ConEd bills for gas and electric, so it wouldn't benefit our landlord to tamper with the line or try to run it to the building next door.

ShutUpHooker said...

Its possible she was renting apartments with gas and even electric included; the idea of then bypassing a meter becomes tempting...

cathryn said...

that is a good point re: people paying their own con ed bills but maybe setting up the structure/piping or however it works would have cost more? Also makes sense why they did not call Con Ed (the restaurant realized something was going on) but for this to be the end result... is so tragic and horrifying.

I do wish people would talk about the animals that must have been lost as if they were part of the equation in the stories. I am so shocked that it is not in most of the articles or really any that I have seen - except for one at, I believe, the Daily Beast which was written by someone whose apartment was destroyed.

Anonymous said...

The animals? two people are still missing and you worry about the animals?

Anonymous said...

How about that she couldn't rent the apt. with no gas, so she needed a 'quick fix' before/if the Con Ed ran the new lines. Con Ed takes forever to do the work, so she decided to do it with her shady contractors. No damn excuse, but there is really no way to control this type of stuff from happening.

Anonymous said...

I also suspect the gas/electric was included in those apartment rentals, which is why the landlord would try to do this. If you live in an apartment with the utilities included, especially in any of these old tenements here in the neighborhood, it is worth it to call ConEd to do some investigating or even ask them to come out and check out the situation. I wouldn't be surprised if this landlord isn't the only one doing this sort of thing if that is indeed what she was doing.

cathryn said...

Uh, anonymous, a does not equal b. I am concerned about the people, of course, but curious why the loss of animals gets basically *no* attention which is what I commented on. I did not say, I do not care about the missing or injured people. There had to be animals in those buildings, not just people, their possessions and restaurants. If you cared about animals, had a cat or dog, I think you would understand. I am noting a lack of any attention to it in almost all media which is telling. The missing people are thankfully getting a lot of attention and deservedly so. It is a horrible situation. Why you feel the need to point to my comment in a disparaging way, making assumptions along the way, I am not sure.

Anonymous said...

Cathryn I agree with you completely and caring about these missing animals IS caring about the people.

First of all, there is not much else any of us can two at this point about the two men unaccounted for, unless we are NYPD/FDNY. We can only pray for their families and for a miracle.

For those tenants who made it out alive, they've just lost everything, many are laying injured in hospital beds, unable to do anything to try to locate their beloved animal companions, let alone hug them for comfort. That is unbearably painful. Photos of missing animals would be helpful—unlike people they can travel undetected pretty far pretty fast, and they're good little hiders. What they can't do is say "I'm lost, please help."

Questions like 2:10's are why so many of us prefer animals to people. They just love you, they don't judge.

Anonymous said...

"If this is all true, Maria Hrynenko should be brought up on manslaughter charges."

yeap. as well as the people incompetently doing the actual work.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Just look at the DOB site on 119 Second. What a saga of neglect and illegal work.
http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ComplaintsByAddressServlet?requestid=1&allbin=1006683
Someone should untangle the LLCs related to the Hyrnenko holdings. How many properties does the family own? I see references to 117, but I'm an amateur in figuring out this stuff.

john penley said...

I just want to add that the contractor was already facing charges for bribing city inspectors.

Anonymous said...

Awful scenario all around. Sounds like people cutting corners in work, doing matters on the "down low" to try to scam, and thereby creating an extremely high-risk situation.

I also must wonder about loss of animal life here. Humans are animals, by the way. There is no contradiction in concern for both human and other animal life. All creatures can suffer and die. Have compassion for all of them.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

If there was deliberate negligence on the part of the landlord, he should be charged with voluntary manslaughter, in the very least. People tend to believe for some reason that money can be taken with them when they die. Greed transforms humans into piranhas.

Gojira said...

Anon. 2:10 -- Seriously? In your life there is a limit on compassion and kindness? One can ONLY care about people, and there's no room for anything else? Wow, I feel sorry for you, you must have a very bleak existence.

Anonymous said...

Helpless and trapped animals would have died in this disaster. They should be mentioned also. It isn't about saying they are more important than the people who are injured or missing it's about acknowledging their lives also. all life is worth that surely.

Anonymous said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Most rent control buildings in the E. Village don't allow pets, I live in a building with 32 apartments and there isn't a single animal here.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times has a new story posted earlier tonight looking at the gas tampering situation in this building.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/nyregion/months-before-east-village-blast-utility-found-gas-line-was-tapped-in-dangerous-way.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

It is frightening.

Anonymous said...

That contractor should stop talking to the media like he's some sort of hero in all this, for pulling the landlord's son out. His stupidity is both directly and indirectly responsible, from hiring the unlicensed subcontractors, to not calling 911, to opening a door to a room full of condensed gas, suddenly introducing air and a spark that ignited the explosion. I hope he's in cuffs right next to the landlord!

Anonymous said...

"Most rent control buildings in the E. Village don't allow pets, I live in a building with 32 apartments and there isn't a single animal here."

Wow, that almost sounds like logic.

Anonymous said...

If what the restaurant owner is saying is true, it's most likely she tapped into the other buildings line's in order to expedite the ability to rent out the apartments.

It's well known Con Ed can take months to install or approve gas lines, so it was mostly likely a combination of frustration and greed......

Anonymous said...

I have a pretty unique take on this. without stating why. It certainly sounds like she was in the midst of a service upgrade and the gas being delivered was deemed insufficient. On August 6, when ConEd found gas being siphoned off to the apartments upstairs, it, in theory and by law, should have remained off until this latest failed inspection was passed and signed off on. Instead, it seems as if service was barely interrupted.
Moreover, that day, Ms. Hrynenko apparently texted her tenants to report any gas issues to her as service may be interrupted briefly due to a crack in the main outside the building.

Chances are, that main was never cracked and the interruption was, in fact, ConEd discovering the illegal siphoning from the retail tenant at 121. She used that time when 'a crack in the main was being fixed' to have a plumber tap the gas off of either the main, or more likely, her building next door at 119. The downfall is not delivering gas to your tenants for the forseeaable future.

Though Ms. Hrynenko has a reputation of being specifically 'not greedy', as she is a small old school owner with only a few buildings, and only a few rent stabilized apartments within those, but yet charges less than the market rate for excellent prime east village locations (DHCR Rent Inquiry, anyone?). However, the temptation to not cease to deliver gas to tenants vs the hassle of the alternative is extremely tempting when you can tie into a gas line in your own building next door. Her and her contractors made a mistake and will probably be prosecuted for it, because this isn't that hard to figure out.

Now, to get a little conspiratorial about it, the real question will be, if there's a glass mid to high rise at that location in five years, the question must be asked, was Ms.Hrynenko set up? Thats the most valuable corner in the East Village. The only way to ever get a group of Landmarked buildings altered to luxury housing, of which there is a tremendous appetite in the dead center of the East Village right now, which that corner is, is a tragedy eliminating the current structures. Her simply selling the buildings doesn't achieve that end. Only the elimination of them. I find it difficult she never knew, but if her corrupt contractor and his corrupt building inspector cronies were approached by the right party, perhaps the contractor, without the landlords knowledge, purposely put the property at risk. The sort of deal I'm referring to is a swing of hundreds of millions, possibly. Its awfully convenient that some ideally zoned, unalterable landmark property on the East Village's most valuable corner, within a couple months, will be a clean pad for new construction.

Anonymous said...

Don't give Ms. Hrynenko too much sympathy, for years she has bullied my family and tried to force them out of the building by denying them service and trying to perform illegal acts. Just look at her history of violations. Its all documented. Who knows she could have saboutaged her own buildings.
http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/ComplaintsByAddressServlet?previous.x=27&previous.y=13&allcount=0001&allbin=1006683&requestid=3

Anonymous said...

They also own 46 E 7th St. under Nasher Realty Corp. / Amuke Realty Corp, 117 2nd Ave under 177 2nd Ave Corp., formerly used to own the Kiev Restaurant (http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/29/nyregion/neighborhood-report-east-village-like-ussr-longtime-ukrainian-diner-defunct.html) and a shell company of some sort, CMSN Management Ltd. (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-hrynenko/62/117/80b) That's the son's Linkedin. He also goes by the name Mischou Hrynenko. Why no journalists have investigated this is a sad mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

Yes "Mischou Hrynenko" is the son of the landlord Maria Hyrnenko. His formal name is Michael.
There’s a fascinating photo on Facebook with Mishou Hrynenko and a woman on a rooftop of what appears to be an East Village building last year.. In his comments he boasts “on one of my buildings rooftops”. This seems quite haunting. Is it one of the destroyed properties? The link to his FB page (open to the public) is:

: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=738866454017&set=a.534288479917.2039450.47602909&type=1&theater

Anonymous said...

Who joins a beer pong group on Facebook? The kids of landlords who are turning the EV into BroTown, that's who.