Sunday, April 2, 2017

Actress Drea de Matteo on her life at 123 2nd Ave.

The Post today has an interview with actress Drea de Matteo, who talks about losing her home of 22 years during the fatal gas explosion on March 26, 2015.

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.


Anonymous said...

Drea is such a classy woman. I agree with her last comments about being able to live without stuff. I am sure it meant a great deal to her, as it would with anyone. Since I live further down on 7th, I usually pass that corner on a daily basis. I always think of the two young men who tragically lost their lives due to the greed, complacency, and selfishness of the business owners, who are beyond my scope of comprehension.

I also think of the tenants, all of whom lost their homes and belongings on that corner :( They are survivors and should be remembered.

I hope those whom filed a class action law suit receive a hefty sum, which obviously doesn't negate their loss or suffering, but in some way, can offer some sense of closure and compensation.

Anonymous said...

There is why I hate graffiti - not that it is graffiti so much as it it not finished. It just looks sloppy.

Giovanni said...

That second tag says "No Teef" which probably accurately describes the nozzlehead who did it. You can add "No Class" to the tag as well.

Anonymous said...

Strike a black line through those wack tags. I swear there should be a taggers' council who requires tags for approval? NO TEEF - GTFOH.

I feel bad for Drea and the others who lost their homes and possessions besides her. Hopefully the publicity of her loss will help the other people get their just due along with her even if just a little bit.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything we residents of the East Village can do to help the survivors with their legal efforts? Would a protest help in any way to keep attention on this? If any of you are reading this and can let us know, we are listening.

Anonymous said...

10:17 PM: Their legal efforts are probably doing fine, because there is a lot of money involved. Where there's money, the lawyers will follow...