Most Stuy Town businesses affected by electrical fire reopen

The First Avenue shops were barricaded off as Con Ed continued to work at the scene last Thursday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following the manhole fire under Stuyvesant Town that caused the evacuation of stores from 18th to 20th Streets on First Avenue, all but one of the businesses have reopened.

The one that didn’t, Ibiza Kidz, was hit the hardest in terms of smoke damage. While cleaning and airing out her shop and assessing damage last Thursday, owner Carole Husiak said she lost her almost all her inventory, including what was in the basement. Additionally, none of the clothing items could be restocked since they were ordered six months ago from wholesalers and are now out of stock.

Husiak said she’s since worked with vendors for new clothing to be brought in quickly. And the scooters and helmets previously in stock are still okay.

However, it isn’t clear yet when the store will reopen since the cleanup effort in coordination with her insurance companies, is ongoing.

“We may need one to two weeks to do that,” said Husiak. She added, “We want to make sure the space and the merchandise is safe before it goes into people’s homes. We’re not cutting corners anywhere, but we need people to support us once we are open.”

Other shops that were forced to close, at least for one day while Con Ed and work electricians from Stuyvesant Town were working to restore the power, were Hane restaurant, Rouge & Blanc wine shop, Berkely Sutton Cleaners, Petland, Ess-a-Bagel, T-Mobile, Gracefully and Brickman’s Ace Hardware.

Beverly Wilpon, a co-owner of Ess-a-Bagel, said the shop lost all its inventory since the store was without power for over 24 hours and most of their food items are perishable. Last Thursday the owners were still cleaning up the shop but since then have been able to reopen. Wilpon said she was just grateful no one was hurt and that there was no damage to the store or any equipment.

Sylvia Choi, owner of Berkely Sutton Cleaners, did, however, lose all the equipment that had been stored in the basement. Choi said she suspects it was thousands of dollars worth, but was still compiling a list for her insurance company when Town & Village called.

No clothes were damaged during the fire, but all clothing items onsite were re-cleaned once the shop reopened and Choi will honor requests from affected customers if they would like their clothes cleaned again.

T-Mobile’s Stuyvesant Town franchise owner Sharon Levi said the store’s office door was destroyed by firemen, but other than that nothing was lost but 14 business hours. The store is now offering a buy-one, get one deal for iPhones up to $700 and the latest Samsung phone.

At Petland, where almost all the animals were safely evacuated last Tuesday, an employee said there was still some cleanup going. Another employee, present on Thursday when there was still a smell of smoke lingering in the air, said nothing else was lost in the fire.

At Rouge & Blanc, a man who picked up the phone said on Monday things were back to normal and no inventory was lost.

“We are open and ready for business if anybody has any doubts,” he said.

At Ace Hardware, the manager also said things weren’t too bad as nothing was lost there, and the business reopened when the power returned on Thursday.

Town & Village was unable to reach a representative for comment at Hane restaurant or Gracefully market.

A spokesperson for Con Ed said owners of businesses that had damage as a result of the fire could submit claims to the utility.

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