Late last March, nearly a full year ago, a deadly explosion caused by faulty pipes hit the East Village on Second Avenue. It destroyed two buildings, displaced dozens and took the lives of two people, Nicholas Figueroa and Moises Ismael Locón Yac. The block it hit, right next to Saint Mark’s Place, is part of the very heart of the East Village. Where three buildings once stood, there’s now nothing but dirt, surrounded by a chain link fence that’s covered with decorations in memory of those who died. What will be done to those buildings remains to be seen.
CBS 2 has reported that officials are set to “make a major announcement” this morning regarding the explosion. It’s been scheduled for 11am at the Manhattan DA’s office. To date, the city has yet to file charges against anybody who has been connected with the explosion. Last April, the Post reported that investigators have “six prime suspects”: landlady Maria Hrynenko, her son Michael, contractor Dilber Kukic, an unidentified subcontractor and two workers.
Less than an hour ago, it’s been reported that five people are facing criminal charges in connection with the gas explosion. Among those suspects brought to the Manhattan DA’s office included Maria, her son and contractor Kukic. As authorities brought her in, Hrynenko told authorities that she’s a “good person”.
The area that was hit by the explosion was the true center of the East Village, near the mecca of St. Mark’s and just walks away from some of the most well-recognized institutions of the neighborhood, including Paul’s Burger Joint, Veselka and craft beer guru Jimmy’s No 43. One of the buildings that was destroyed housed Pommes Frites, the Belgian-style french fry bar whose potatoes and special sauces made it a must-visit for any nighttime revelers in the neighborhood to get their deep fried fix. Even if a duplicate restaurant opened around the corner, many remain upset at the loss of Pommes Frites, especially as the second location on Macdougal Street doesn’t show signs of opening any time soon, its previous release date for the Fall of 2015 is long gone.