Three Months Post-Explosion, B&H Dairy Struggling While the City Does Nothing to Help

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 at 5:00 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: SaveNYC Instagram

Just over three months since the tragic Second Avenue Explosion, B&H Dairy remains caught in a quagmire of bureaucratic bullshit. The longtime lunch counter – operating since the 1930s – was supposed to have reopened already. Yet, navigating the alphabet soup of city agencies keeps delaying the process, and the business is in mortal danger.

Jeremiah of Vanishing NY, meantime, is mobilizing #SaveNYC, and noted Friday afternoon that safety requirements in the wake of the blast are much more stringent. And even though B&H passed inspection beforehand, a new fire system is now necessary. The upgrade costs some $28,000, and must also net approval from Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (located within Historic District).

The papers have been submitted, but nothing is moving.

Andy Reynolds, local East Villager and ad hoc advocate for the B&H, says, “Things keep getting pushed back another week, two weeks, month, months. They were OK for the last couple months, but with no income, it’s getting critical, unsustainable.”

In addition, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City promised financial assistance to residents and businesses impacted by the Second Avenue explosion, but no funds have made their way to Fawzy and Ola, and no one from the city has been in touch with them.

Meanwhile, co-owners Fawzy Abdelwahed and Ola Smigielska consistently pay the rent and other bills. They’re fed up. The team assembled the following letter to Mayor de Blasio, which reads:

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Please spare the East Village yet a third victim of the March 26 Second Avenue explosion and fire: B&H Kosher Dairy Restaurant at 127 Second Ave.

B&H initially thought they’d be able open about a month after the explosions (their neighbor, Paul’s Da Burger Joint opened within two weeks of the fire), but have been mired in paperwork, waiting for permits, making necessary very expensive upgrades and repeated inspections.

The delays seem to be with the DOB. What was to be one week turns into two, three, a month, and so on. B&H has survived being closed for three months, but as they have absolutely no income to pay rent or their employees, they fear they will go out of business if they are forced to wait another month for permits and approvals from city agencies.

The East Village and New York City CANNOT lose this beloved restaurant, a neighborhood staple since for nearly 70 years!

In addition, the B&H has not received any of the monies promised from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC – while their building is still standing, they are suffering the consequences of this disaster in the aftermath – a full 3 months! They are in dire need of assistance. I urge you to investigate what the delays are in getting Fawzy and Ola the assistance they were promised.

I also ask that someone from your office advocates for this beloved small business with DOB.
Sincerely,

Andy Reynolds
B&H Customer, Friend and Neighbor

Tweet this message:

Please save B&H Dairy! @RosieMendez @MMViverito @BilldeBlasio Expedite permits & funds to this EV classic. #SaveNYC bwry.co/1JiFBfI

Recent Stories

Two Lower East Side Businesses Join ‘American Dream’ Food Court in the Meadowlands

A host of New York City businesses are headed to the gargantuan American Dream complex in north Jersey. Two of which hail from the Lower East Side, we’ve just learned. Empanada Mama, with locations on Allen Street and Hell’s Kitchen, recently signed a lease to join the party. Apparently the deal was forged during the […]

Displaced Tenants of 70 Mulberry Street Issue Statement on Demolition and Redevelopment

In the wake of a divisive Community Board 3 meeting, in which preservationists were pitted against a desire for return, the displaced tenants of 70 Mulberry Street came together yesterday and issued a joint statement about shared priorities moving forward. Many in the Chinatown community feel that the city, owner of the fire-scorched former school […]

The Pandemic Through the Eyes of a Teenager on a CitiBike [VIDEO]

Earlier this month, a local teenager took to the empty streets of New York City with only a bicycle and iPhone to document. His name is Arjun Govind, a student of LaGuardia High School (the Fame school) on the Upper West Side. The well-produced short film is a glimpse at the initial stages of the […]

The City is Demolishing 70 Mulberry Street without Chinatown Input

Four months after a devastating five-alarm fire, it seems the city is content to let 70 Mulberry Street meet the wrecking ball. The Department of Buikdings and Department of Citywide Administrative Services together Plan full demolition, without community input. Roughly a dozen concerned Chinatown residents “attended” the Community Board 3 Land Use committee meeting last […]

Thieves Continue to Target ‘Ginger & Lemongrass’ on Rivington Street

With coronavirus lockdown the new normal, crime is seemingly on the rise around the Lower East Side. And Ginger & Lemongrass, the two-year-old Vietnamese restaurant at 153 Rivington Street, is apparently a ripe target. The business last week fell victim to theft for the second time in as many months. “The Lower East Side is […]