B&H Dairy is One Step Closer to Reopening, Yet Frustration Mounts

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 at 5:11 am by
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For the 73-year-old B&H Dairy, the frustration is mounting. Three months after the deadly Second Avenue explosion at its doorstep, reopening is still well on the horizon. Yes, the gears are in motion, but it’s painfully slow. The first DOB permit was issued last week, needed for installation of the requisite $28,000 fire suppression system; the job reportedly begins today. Yet that only happened after the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the green light (since it resides in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District).

Once all the contract work is complete, a heaping pile of bureaucratic bullshit must still be navigated. The fire department and Con Edison need to inspect and approve. Then the Department of Health to make sure they can serve food again.

B&H Dairy co-owners Fawzy Abdelwahed and Ola Smigielsk spoke to EV Grieve to shed more light on their plight. Some excerpts…

“I have bills to pay. What am I going to do? Where am I going to get assistance from? I just need to open the restaurant — simple,” said Abdelwahed, who estimates that his monthly costs are $30,000, which includes rent, taxes and labor costs.

[The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City] promised to give people money who have been affected by the explosion, but this has never happened,” he said. “I’ve never heard from them.”

“We have very big support from our customers,” he said. “Since being closed the only people who care about us are our customers.”

Meanwhile, local advocate Andy Reynolds told us last week that “Stetzer is on the case and Bernadette Nation from the Small Business Services agency (a mayoral agency) have been in touch with the owners of B&H daily, working diligently to get our beloved East Village restaurant reopened as quickly as possible.”

NY1 also gave the issue some facetime with a segment that aired last Thursday night as part of its “NY1 for You” series. Spread the word. Save B&H!

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