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