Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A list of online fundraisers to help residents rebuild their lives

[Photo this morning by Vinny and O]

There are a number of online fundraisers underway for residents who lost their homes in the explosion and subsequent fire at 121 Second Ave.

We received some of those links... however, DNAinfo has the most comprehensive list that we've seen to date. You can find that information here.

2nd Avenue update (March 31)

[Photo by Phillip Giambri via Facebook]

The latest headlines

Manhattan District Attorney investigating fatal East Village gas explosion: officials (The Wall Street Journal)

3 injured in East Village explosion are released from hospital (The New York Times)

Vigil held at site of East Village explosion (WABC-7)

East Village blast victims’ date meets his parents (New York Post)

How you can help Mariann Marlowe rebuild Enz’s (BoweryBoogie)

Here is information gleaned from the most recent Inter-Agency Update:

• Vacate orders remain for 48 residential units in the following buildings: 125 2nd Avenue, and 41 East 7th Street
• Repair work has begun on 41 East 7th Street
• Vacate orders have been lifted for buildings on the East side of 2nd Avenue
• Bellevue Hospital is still treating one patient
• Approximately 3,000 cubic yards of debris searched and removed as of 10 a.m. yesterday
-Estimated to be half of the debris on site
-This represents 46 trailer loads of debris removed
-Each cubic yard weighs approximately one ton

Donations and Services

• From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Velselka is giving out $100 gift cards to displaced neighbors.

… and from Trash and Vaudeville ...

Missing Pets

City serves stop work order on Icon Realty-owned building for installing gas pipe without permit across from deadly 2nd Avenue blast zone

Yesterday afternoon, the city inspected the Icon Realty-owned 128 Second Ave. across the street from the three buildings that were leveled in a gas explosion last Thursday that killed two people and left more than 20 others injured.

According to the violation notice, a city inspector observed a worker in the cellar installing a new gas pipe and new gas elbows and valve without a permit.

The city immediately served a full stop work order.

Per the sign on the door, the remedy is either obtaining a permit or restoring to "prior legal condition."

128 Second Ave. is also home to the Stage. The diner was closed yesterday. A reader spotted Stage owner Roman Diakun, who said they didn't have gas service. It's unclear when the Stage will be able to open again for business.

Last Wedensday, the tenants association at 128 Second Ave. filed an HP Action for Repairs and Services against Icon Realty in NYC Housing Court. Among other issues, the remaining residents claim that there is inconsistent heat, broken fire escapes and a lack of fire alarms in the building.

Icon bought the building in the fall of 2013.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Happy holidays from 128 Second Ave.

128 Second Ave. has been sold

'Demolitions and renovations' starting today at 128 Second Avenue

Spotted Owl Tavern opens today in the former Destination space on Avenue A

John Cutillo, the owner of Local 138 and Iggy's Keltic Lounge on Ludlow Street as well as the Grand Victory in Williamsburg, opens his latest venture today.

Look for the Spotted Owl Tavern on the northwest corner of Avenue A and 13th Street ... in the former Destination space. We're told that the vibe will be old-school neighborhood bar.

And there is food. The owner-chef of Black Tree over on Orchard Street helped create the pub-style menu.

The Spotted Own Tavern opens daily at 3.

Destination Bar opened in the summer of 2009 … and closed this past Feb. 1.

Marshal chronicles

The storefronts at 44 E. First St. are now empty.

For starters, the plant store/boutique Green Fingers moved to Rivington Street several weeks ago...

Then late last week, the Marshal paid a visit to the former Wash House space next door…

However, the hyped laundro-bar had already closed last fall after just six-plus months in business.

Meanwhile, at 45 First Ave. near East Third Street …

The Marshal took possession of the Shin Modern Nail shop…

Next door, Puebla Mexican Food at 47 First Ave. recently lost its lease…. owner Irma Marin hopes to reopen in the Essex Street Market.

La Esquina Burritos & Bar signage up on 1st Avenue

As we noted last week, Figaro Cafe Bistro Bar & Grill on First Avenue and East Sixth Street… was changing up concepts and now going by La Esquina Bar & Grill, per the signs in the window.

Perhaps to alleviate any confusion between this La Esquina and the Kenmare Street establishments — La Esquina Taqueria and Cafe/La Esquina Brasserie & Tequila Bar — ownership must have decided on a variation… the new signage/awning combo is now up…

[Photo via @sheeplessnomad]

La Esquina Burritos and Bar...

[Photo by Vinny and O]

Figaro opened in January 2014, taking over the space from Banjara.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A moment of silence tonight for East Village blast victim Nicholas Figueroa

Friends and family members turned out this evening at St. Mark's Place and Second Avenue for a candlelight vigil in honor of 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, the first victim identified from last Thursday's gas explosion

From ABC 7's Jim Dolan on the scene… (Updated: Here is ABC's (report.)

Top two photos via EVG reader Brian P.

The Onion's AMERICAN VOICES weigh in on the East Village explosion selfie

The photo has been making the rounds, here and abroad. Now The Onion takes to the streets for some thoughts on the issue…

Says Pam Coyle, Groupon Purchaser: "It’s unfair to condemn those people before seeing how the pictures turned out."


Reader report: Gas scare at the Tompkins Square Library

[Photo by EVG reader Daniel]

Late this afternoon the Tompkins Square library branch on East 10th Street was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Word from some readers who happened to be there… workers were doing boiler repairs, and someone smelled gas.

The FDNY was quickly on the scene and gave the all clear. However, the library remained closed to patrons the rest of the day.

The branch is also serving as a reception center for displaced residents of last Thursday's explosion on Second Avenue and East Seventh Street.

H/T @JenniferKellow

2nd Avenue update (March 30)

[Second Avenue this morning via Vinny and 0]

The latest headlines

Focus shifts to cause of East Village explosion after 2 bodies found (CBS New York)

Tourist apologizes for snapping selfie near blast site (New York Post)

And from the EVG inbox this afternoon...

Councilmember Rosie Mendez statement on the aftermath of East Village explosion

“When our city experiences a disaster such as the explosion that occurred last week in my district, we see New Yorkers at their best. The explosion on 2nd Avenue led many individuals to display their fearlessness and courage to aide people in danger.

“I would like to thank all of the agencies and organizations involved in assisting and protecting our neighbors from combatting the fire to restoring services. Thank you to the FDNY, NYPD, OEM, Red Cross NY, Small Business Services, LES Ready, P.S.63, the Tompkins Square Library, Animal Care & Control, Community Board 3 and many others.

“This explosion was a true tragedy that has rendered many homeless and took the lives of two young men. My heart goes out to the individuals who have lost a friend or family member. I hope the families can find some comfort in that they will be able to move forward with a proper service for their loved one.

“This week, the city will continue to station an emergency resource center in the East Village for residents to obtain a variety of services including relocation and mental health referrals. New Yorkers and East Villagers are strong and resilient and we will survive this trying moment.”

Donations and Services

• Cooper's Craft & Kitchen will be accepting donations from patrons who wish to contribute to the American Red Cross at both their East Village (Second Avenue and East Fifth Street) and Chelsea (Eighth Avenue at 18th Street) locations. "We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with the victims & their families," Tom O'Byrne, one of the owners of Cooper's Craft & Kitchen, said in a statement.

• East Village resident Sara Walshe is holding a by-donation yoga class at the Ashtanga Yoga Shala (East Eighth Street at Avenue B) to raise money for displaced residents. All donations will be given to the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, earmarked for the explosion. The class is Monday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Details here.

Missing Pets

The cats, Sebastian (left) and Kitty Cordelia, that belong to Kathleen Blomberg, who lives at 125 Second Ave., adjacent to the three collapsed buildings, are missing. No. 125 is still under a Full Vacate Order. We have her contact info should you spot her beloved pets...

[Updated] Assessing the damage at neighborhood favorite B&H Dairy

On Saturday, the FDNY allowed the folks at 76-year-old B&H Dairy to assess their sliver of a space at 127 Second Ave., several storefronts away from the three fallen buildings.

Workers were able to start cleaning the mess… Per part of a Facebook message yesterday: "The place look Good Tanky God."

They are looking forward to reopening soon … no word just yet on when the city will allow that to happen. A full vacate order remains on this building.

We miss our great Costumer

Posted by B&H Dairy Kosher Restaurant on Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meanwhile, other neighboring restaurants on the west side of Second Avenue between St. Mark's Place and East Seventh Street remained closed as of yesterday — Taqueria Diana, Ramen Misoya and Paul's Da Burger Joint. Paul's reopened this afternoon!

The image of our whole corner gone is beyond devastating. We send our love out to our neighbors who have been hurt,...

Posted by Paul's Da Burger Joint on Friday, March 27, 2015

Images via Facebook

Across Second Avenue, the Stage has been open. (Diner regular Helen Mirren got an order to go on Friday.) San Loco and Bar Virage remained closed. At 43 E. Seventh St., Jimmy's No. 43, Standings and Burp Castle were spared any major damage. However, all three spaces have yet been given the OK to reopen.

Updated 11:45 a.m.

Several readers mentioned that the Stage in not open today. And San Marzano at 117 Second Ave. is not open.

Moishe's Bake Shop and the New Yorkers Market are open...

Cleaning out the East 4th Street Dolphin Gym

We spotted workers removing items from the now-closed Dolphin Gym on East Fourth Street near Second Avenue yesterday morning… the guys on the scene said that they didn't know why the gym shuttered without any warning to members on Friday…

EVG reader Nisha left this comment on the previous post:

I went there today and one of the managers was there closing up this morning. I asked what happened — he said that only part of the gym space was zoned for commercial use, the rest was for residential use. He said no one had bothered them about that in 15 years, but now they were starting to get complaints from the city so they had to abruptly shut down.

A sign on the door says that Synergy Fitness (with two locations on 14th Street) will honor the Dolphin memberships.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Dolphin Gym abruptly closes on East 4th Street

Dolphin Gym hangs it up on Avenue B

Reader report: Small fire temporarily KOs Tuome on East 5th Street

Yesterday morning, the FDNY reported to a fire at 540 E. Fifth St. (The address was actually 536.)

[Photo via @salim]

The FDNY gave the all clear after 30 minutes … however, according to a resident in the building, there was some damage to the kitchen at Tuome, the well-regarded restaurant that opened last August.

Per the resident: "Tuome is gone for at least a week, maybe more. It was an oil fire from their kitchen that had started as early as 7am when I smelled it from upstairs."

The restaurant was closed last night during normal business hours. We weren't able to track down anyone to verify the length of the closure. There isn't any mention of the fire on the Tuome website or social media properties.

The only noticeable remainder from the fire on the outside is…

Minca Ramen Factory, which shares the address, was open per usual yesterday.

Tal Bagels opening soon next to possible new home of Ess-A-Bagel

[Photo from March 22]

Going out of the neighborhood for a moment to discuss a favorite topic (spoiler: bagels). So the lease-less Ess-A-Bagel closed up their home of nearly 40 years last Sunday on First Avenue and East 21st Street.

Ownership maintains that they will reopen nearby.

According to Town & Village, Ess-A-Bagel has expressed interest in the now-closed laundromat space the next block up at No. 363…

Seems like a good spot. Or maybe it was. Several readers pointed out that Tal Bagels is opening another NYC branch… right next door. Coming soon signs arrived last week…

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Report: Landlord forcing Ess-a-Bagel from its longtime home (46 comments)

1 week left for Ess-A-Bagel at its current 1st Avenue location

[Updated] Ess-A-Bagel has closed for now on 1st Avenue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

RIP Nicholas Figueroa

The family of Nicholas Figueroa confirmed today that his body was found in the rubble of 121 Second Ave. He was 23.

According to various media accounts, Figueroa was on a date at Sushi Park with 22-year-old Teresa Galarce at the time of the blast that ultimately leveled three buildings. Galarce, a co-worker at Bowlmor Lanes at Chelsea Piers, suffered a broken nose, broken rib and punctured lung during the explosion that authorities believe was caused by leaking natural gas.

Figueroa was a December graduate of SUNY Buffalo State with a degree in criminal justice.

College friends told The Wall Street Journal that he liked to go kayaking, rock climbing and hot-air ballooning. And he loved salsa.

"He wasn’t a very good dancer," one friend said.

"But he got better," said the other.

He was the oldest of four brothers.

"He is one of those people that lives life to the fullest. He's always happy," his brother Neal told the Daily News several days ago.

Said his brother Tyler on Friday: "Nicholas is a happy-go-lucky guy. He loves to experience adventures and go on crazy adventures. He's got the biggest, brightest smile, too. I don't even know why he was at a sushi restaurant. I thought he was a vegetarian."

Figueroa had just paid the couple's bill at the back of the restaurant when the explosion rocked the building.

Authorities recovered a second body today, though they have not made a positive ID. The other missing man is Moises Ismael Locón Yac, who worked at Sushi Park.

Updated: There is a GoFundMe campaign set up to help the Figueroa pay for funeral expenses.

Legal clinic tomorrow night for displaced residents of 2nd Avenue and East 7th Street

GOLES is sponsoring the meeting, held at 535 E. Fifth St between Avenue and Avenue B.

H/T Stacie Joy

Report: Searchers recover 2nd body from site of blast on 2nd Avenue

[Photo earlier today via Vinny and O]

This in from ABC-7 just after 4 p.m.:

Police say two bodies have been discovered in the rubble of an apparent gas explosion that leveled three buildings in Manhattan's East Village. The identification process is pending.

Two men in their 20's have been unaccounted for since the blast, Nicholas Figueroa and Moises Lucon.

An East Village tribute

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone effected by the East Village fire - Centre-fuge by @cramcept #centrefuge #centrefugepublicartproject

A photo posted by Centre-fuge Public Art Project (@centrefugepublicartproject) on

Report: FDNY will need a week to go through 2nd Avenue blast site

[Photo today by Vinny and O]

Three days after the reported gas explosion jolted Second Avenue and East Seventh Street, emergency responders continue to work 24/7 at the site of the blast that eventually took down three buildings.

According to the Post today:

The FDNY said it would take a week to go through the ruins, with first responders working around-the-clock while dogs sniff the debris.

“It’s going to be slow and arduous to dig out, search through the rubble,” FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro said.

Two men, Nicholas Figueroa, 23, and Moises Lucon, 27, remain missing.

We'll continue to update this story …

Howl! Happening opens today on East 1st Street

Howl! Happening, a new gallery and performance space, makes its debut today at 6 E. First St. between the Bowery and Second Avenue…

The exhibit "Arturo Vega American Treasure" runs through April 25.

You can read more about the space here.

Legally dump your old electronics today at Tompkins Square Park

The e-waste recycling event is underway on Avenue A between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street … until 4 p.m.

[Photo by EVG reader Robert F.]

The e-wasters are accepting: Computers, monitors, printers, TVs… and everything listed on the flyer…

It's your chance to properly dispose of this!

(And this isn't what the cranes are on Avenue A right now…

Laszlo and Lulu are missing

Several readers told us that new flyers are up for these missing cats… who lived with their owner in a building adjacent to 119-123 Second Ave.

Report of a fire at 540 E. 5th St.

[Photo via @girluninterrupt]

Updated 10:42 a.m.

2nd Avenue update (March 29)

[Photo yesterday by Derek Berg]

The latest headlines

Possibility of criminal charges in New York City building collapse growing (ABC News)

Months before East Village blast, utility found gas line was tapped in dangerous way (The New York Times)

Investigators question whether cause of East Village explosion is criminal (WABC-7)

East Village explosion underscores city's infrastructure woes (Crain's)

Heartless visitors snap selfies at East Village blast site (New York Post)

Donations and Services

• The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC continues to collect donations to help address the needs of residents displaced by the explosion. Find the website here with more details.

• A parishioner from Church of the Nativity, Mildred Guy, lost her home in the fire. Today, Nativity will be collecting clothes, sheets and funds for displaced victims from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Donations will be going to the Red Cross. The Church is at 44 Second Ave. between East Second Street and East Third Street.

Theater for the New City on First Avenue is offering FREE clothing from their costume collection ("costume" street wear) to its neighbors displaced by the explosion. They have coats, jackets and other clothing. Call 212-254-1109 to make an appointment.

• From 5-8 p.m. today, Professor Thom's is hosting a fundraiser for their Second Avenue neighbors. Per a Professor Thom's manager: "100 percent of all donations collected will go directly to helping our neighbors who have been affected by this."

The Loft at Professor Thom's (219 2nd Avenue between East 13th Street and East 14th Street) A $25 donation gets a bracelet for $1 well drinks & domestic beer, $2 wine and imported beer.

• EVG reader Sierra writes in to say:

We have an apartment on 9th Street and Avenue C. We can easily live in half of it as it's currently two apartments not yet combined. Our home is furnished and completely private. A single person or couple would be best for the size of the space. We can offer a two-week stay, just ask for proof of address.

Email her here

• EVG reader Gojira also has an extra room for a displaced resident. "I have a large, unused room in my apartment, free to a displaced single or couple, but you must be okay with cats. Email me here. I can host for a month. Proof of address required."

• A displaced resident named Alex left this comment on a previous post:

Hello! I live at E 41 7th, and we are displaced and awaiting news. If anyone is interested in volunteering anything, you can contact the Red Cross...or take things to 169 Avenue B. They already have lots of things. But as a displaced person who will most likely be in long term shelter for a while, a few things that needed (and got elsewhere! Yay!), but others may need are: ear plugs and eye masks (for sleeping in shared housing), slippers, pajamas, mittens/gloves/hates/scarves (I had a coat, but didn't need gloves on Thursday when I left, but needed them today). New underwear & simple socks. Laundry detergent, even small containers of it, shower caps, bathrobes, travel things, small individual instant coffee things, simple cups/mugs, plates & cutlery (I'm in shelter and got food, but don't have a cup for coffee).

• Manhattan Mini Storage is offer free storage for displaced residents. Details here

Moments after the 2nd Avenue explosion

Photographer Nathan Blaney happened to be near Second Avenue and East Seventh Street at the time of the explosion Thursday afternoon.

He shared these photos with us… several photos show off-duty firefighter Mike Shepherd (in baseball cap) and Second Avenue resident Austin Branda climb the fire escape above Sushi Park to help rescue a stranded resident and search for others… Minutes later, No. 121 catches on fire...