The corner of St. Marks and Second Avenue was once again abuzz this afternoon, as a Small Biz Crawl brought much needed cash and customers to businesses adjacent the March 26 gas explosion.
“This is a group that’s gotten together on Twitter and Facebook, to try and bring attention to the plight of the mom-and-pop restaurants and businesses down here in the East Village,” said Allegra Riggio, a campaigner for #SaveNYC, which organized the cash crawl. Some 265 people RSVP’d for it on Facebook; around noon today, a few dozen supporters had shown up.
With obstructive barricades discouraging pedestrians from stopping into Himalayan Visions, a Tibetan trinket store, the owners say they suffered a 90 to 95 percent loss in business because of the blast. After selling just $20 of merchandise a day this past week, the store sold the same amount in just five minutes at the Small Biz Crawl. Business at Paul’s Da Burger Joint has been down about 60 percent since the blast, but there was a line out the door today.
“This is definitely the busiest day since this all happened,” said Natalie Wardrop, wife of the 25-year-old burger stand’s owner, Matt Wardrop.
Businesses like B&H Dairy, which is still without gas, and Enz’s, which is operating out of a pop-up location on the Lower East Side, remained closed.
Last night, three bars directly adjacent the blast site on Seventh Street — Standings, Burp Castle, and Jimmy’s No. 43 — reopened after a 15-day hiatus.
Meanwhile, the city announced that The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City had raised $125,000 for victims through private and corporate donations, and that, starting Monday, LES Ready would take over long-term case management for those displaced by the tragedy. Funds will go toward security, last month’s rent, and replacement housewares for those transitioning to new apartments.
Watch our video for more on today’s cash crawl.