Bill de Blasio Visits Two Churches Blocks From East Harlem Explosion

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the Church of God. (Photo: NYC Mayor's Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the Church of God. (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio today addressed the congregations of two churches just blocks from last week’s East Harlem gas explosion, attempting to offer comfort to a community still reeling from the sudden deaths of eight locals.

Mr. de Blasio appeared at a large, predominately African-American church and a low-slung Spanish-speaking church, where he layered his speeches with Christian rhetoric and promises of help for the victims of the catastrophe.  Continue reading “Bill de Blasio Visits Two Churches Blocks From East Harlem Explosion”

Speaker Pleads With Press to Give Space to East Harlem Victims

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: NYC Council/Willam Alatriste)
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: NYC Council/Willam Alatriste)

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants the media to back off a little bit when it comes to its coverage of last week’s East Harlem gas explosion.

Ms. Mark-Viverito, who represents the neighborhood, told reporters today their coverage of the victims was becoming “overwhelming.” Continue reading “Speaker Pleads With Press to Give Space to East Harlem Victims”

De Blasio Returns to Tour Harlem Explosion Site

Mayor Bill de Blasio getting briefed on the apartment collapse in East Harlem this morning. (Photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)
Mayor Bill de Blasio getting briefed on the East Harlem apartment collapse this morning. (Photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)

Mayor Bill de Blasio returned to the site of the fatal East Harlem building explosion and collapse this morning, where he was briefed on the ongoing  recovery efforts by first responders.

Yesterday morning’s explosion–apparently caused by a gas leak–leveled two buildings near the corner of East 116th Street and Park Avenue, spewing debris into the street and leaving at least seven dead and 37 injured as of last night, with others still missing, a fire department spokesman said. Continue reading “De Blasio Returns to Tour Harlem Explosion Site”

Jumaane Williams Hopes Mayor Appoints New Buildings Commissioner ASAP

Bill de Blasio being briefed on today's explosion. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office)
Bill de Blasio being briefed on today’s explosion. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office)

City Councilman Jumaane Williams is hoping that Mayor Bill de Blasio appoints a new Department of Buildings commissioner “as soon as possible” in the wake of a catastrophic East Harlem building explosion.

“I think the mayor, we all know is taking steps to appoint people … the Department of Buildings is one of the ones that are leftover,” Mr. Williams, the chair of the council’s housing and buildings committee, told reporters this afternoon in the City Council chambers. Continue reading “Jumaane Williams Hopes Mayor Appoints New Buildings Commissioner ASAP”

Mark-Viverito Says District Office Doubling as Command Post After Explosion

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the scene of the East Harlem Building Collapse. (Photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the scene of the East Harlem Building Collapse. (Photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was on her way to City Hall from her home in East Harlem this morning when she noticed Twitter erupting with early reports of a massive explosion that had rocked her district, leveling two buildings and leaving at least two dead and 22 injured, according to fire officials.

“I left my home at about 9:15, 9:20. I was on my way to City Hall when I started seeing some activity on Twitter from constituents that had heard the explosion or had been rocked by the explosion, some that live on 118th Street. So I turned around, came uptown,” Ms. Mark-Viverito told the Observer after an emergency briefing this afternoon a block from the site, which remains ablaze. Continue reading “Mark-Viverito Says District Office Doubling as Command Post After Explosion”

De Blasio Says He Has No Regrets About Agency Staffing After East Harlem Explosion

Mayor Bill de Blasio and emergency responders a block from the scene of the explosion.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and emergency responders a block from the scene of the explosion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio today said he had no regrets about agency staffing following this morning’s massive East Harlem explosion, which collapsed two buildings, killing at least two and leaving more than a dozen injured. The explosion appears to have been caused by gas.

Speaking at a briefing a block from the site–which remained smoldering, with more than 250 firefighters on scene more than three hours after the blast–Mr. de Blasio heaped praise on emergency workers and first responders, including the Department of Building’s Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello. Continue reading “De Blasio Says He Has No Regrets About Agency Staffing After East Harlem Explosion”

Council Meeting Could Be Delayed After East Harlem Explosion

A deadly blast rocked East Harlem this morning. (Photo: NY1)
A deadly blast rocked East Harlem this morning. (Photo: NY1)

A massive building collapse this morning in East Harlem may delay today’s scheduled City Council meeting.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito represents the neighborhood and has been on the scene for the last hour, according to her spokesman. The City Council’s stated meeting, where the entire council meets to introduce and vote on legislation, is scheduled for 1 p.m. today and Ms. Mark-Vierito has already canceled a pre-stated press conference.  Continue reading “Council Meeting Could Be Delayed After East Harlem Explosion”