Alba Howard, Ashley Campbell, Natalie Gruppuso and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak organized the lemonade stand in front of the First Avenue store over the weekend to raise money for non-profits helping migrant children at the southern border. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local moms joined a national effort to raise money for migrant children by holding a pop-up lemonade stand in front of Ibiza Kidz on First Avenue last weekend, raising $2,200 over two days. In addition to the money from the sales, an anonymous Stuyvesant Town resident boosted the tally by donating $1,000 on Sunday.
The event, organized nationally by Lawyer Moms Foundation, encouraged kids and families throughout the country to host lemonade stands to raise awareness for the separation of migrant children from their families at the southern border and to raise money for the Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).
This is the second year that the foundation organized the national event and technically the second year that Stuy Town moms and other local parents have contributed, although when East 24th Street resident Natalie Gruppuso set up shop on the sidewalk along First Avenue outside Stuy Town, they were booted out by Public Safety only about an hour after opening.
Gruppuso is the program manager for the all-volunteer-run non-profit NYC Mammas Give Back, which primarily offers assistance to mothers throughout New York City, but which got involved in the national event over the weekend, working with Stuy Town resident and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak to hold the event at the First Avenue store.
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.
Firetrucks line First Avenue. (Photo by Henry Beck)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday at around 6 p.m., an underground electrical fire broke out in a service box inside a manhole under Stuyvesant Town, shutting down the businesses along First Avenue from 18th to 20th Streets.
No one was injured but the amount of smoke meant the stores had to evacuate — including the animal residents at Petland.
Carole Husiak, owner of clothing store Ibiza Kidz, was at work when the overhead began to flicker. At the time, she thought there was something wrong with the store’s bulbs, but a few minutes later, Stuyvesant Town employees ran in to tell her to turn off all the store’s power and evacuate.
“There were hundreds of firemen and trucks as far as you could see in both directions,” said Husiak. “I think they were anticipating an explosion.”
Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak with Council Member Keith Powers by some of the donated items (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)
Motivated by recent news stories of children getting separated from their parents at the country’s southern border, local moms have collected more than a hundred donations in the last month for the children who have been displaced in New York.
Stuyvesant Town residents Rebekah Rosler and Emily Anderson, who started a company called MomMeetUps earlier this year for expectant and new mothers, reached out to their network when the story broke at the end of June and directed residents to drop off items at local shop Ibiza Kidz, where owner Carole Husiak, herself a Stuy Town resident, has also been soliciting donations from charitable people in the neighborhood through a Stuyvesant Town moms Facebook group.
“It was a community effort and because I’m a central neighborhood shop, it was a good place to bring things,” Husiak said. “That’s how it evolved. Everyone kind of jumped on it because we’re incensed by all this.”
Husiak has previously worked with civic-minded neighborhood residents, helping a local non-profit organization collect items for Syrian refugees last April. Husiak told Town & Village at the time that the organization was having trouble finding space for the donations so she volunteered her store as a drop-off site.