de Matteo, born and raised in Queens, was 21 in 1993 when she moved into the second-floor apartment at 123 Second Ave., one of three buildings destroyed following the explosion and fire.
“I was holding parties there. It was wild,” she said. She put her funky stamp on the space with Gothic tables and chairs from her dad, Albert, who owned a furniture company. She added black lights “so at night it was [like] a discotheque — the whole apartment glowed. It was a little gypsy caravan,” she said.
The apartment, above Sam’s Deli and the restaurant Pommes Frites, saw her through life changes: opening a vintage clothing store, Filth Mart; landing her first big role, on “The Sopranos,” in 1999; winning an Emmy in 2004. As her star grew, de Matteo stayed put — even once she became engaged to musician Shooter Jennings, son of country music legend Waylon Jennings, and gave birth to their two children. (Jennings and de Matteo later split.)
“I brought both of my children home from the hospital to that apartment,” she recalled.
The pad also became a sanctuary at the end of 2014, a year after her father died. De Matteo’s mom downsized from the Whitestone home where the actress had grown up and moved the family’s most treasured possessions into the loft. The pad housed “everything meaningful and valuable” in her life, de Matteo said. She lost it all in the blaze. “Every single photograph is gone, every videotape of my dad . . . my children’s footprints.”
Nonetheless, the actress said, “I can live without all that stuff. I am just happy to be alive.”
In June 2016, de Matteo and several dozen other residents filed a $17 million suit in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleging the city and Con Edison, along with the owners of the restaurant Sushi Park and contractor Neighborhood Construction Corp., failed "to observe significant and dangerous 'red flags' … failing to take any steps to protect the public and their property."
Last fall, the owner of No. 123, who is not implicated in any of the various lawsuits, sold the empty lot to Ezra Wibowo under the LLC 123 Second Ave. Corp. for $6 million.
Meanwhile, multiple readers have noted the arrival (last Sunday night/Monday morning) of this graffiti on the east-facing wall of 43 E. Seventh St. ...
[Photo by Steven]
Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: 2nd Ave. explosion — landlord, 3 others charged with 2nd degree manslaughter; showed 'a blatant and callous disregard for human life'
Former residents talk about landlord Maria Hrynenko: 'it was clear she wanted to get rid of anyone with a rent-regulated apartment'
Report: 123 2nd Ave. is for sale
Selling 123 Second Ave.
A few more details about the sale of 123 2nd Ave.