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.