Locals Plead With City to Fast Track Reopening of B&H Dairy (Updated)

Fawzy and Ola Abdelwahed of B&H Dairy. Photo: GVSHP.

Fawzy and Ola Abdelwahed of B&H Dairy. Photo: GVSHP.
Fawzy and Ola Abdelwahed of B&H Dairy. Photo: GVSHP.

B&H Dairy, a beloved neighborhood institution, has remained closed since the devastating March 26 2nd Avenue explosion. In spite of substantial efforts from owners Fawzy and Ola Abdelwahed and many dedicated community supporters, the city has not approved the kosher lunch counter’s reopening.

One neighbor, Andy Reynolds, recently wrote to Mayor de Blasio:

B&H initially thought they’d be able open about a month after the explosions (their neighbor, Paul’s Da Burger Joint opened within two weeks of the fire), but have been mired in paperwork, waiting for permits, making necessary very expensive upgrades and repeated inspections. The delays seem to be with the DOB. What was to be one week turns into two, three, a month, and so on. B&H has survived being closed for three months, but as they have absolutely no income to pay rent or their employees, they fear they will go out of business if they are forced to wait another month for permits and approvals from city agencies. The East Village and New York City CANNOT lose this beloved restaurant, a neighborhood staple since for nearly 70 years!’

On Friday, blogger Jeremiah Moss posted about B&H’s predicament:

Recently, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Rosie Mendez held a small business crawl, modeled after #SaveNYC’s Small Biz Crawl, for the mom and pops impacted by the Second Avenue explosion. Unfortunately, B&H was unable to open and benefit from these events. Please write to Speaker Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Mendez, and Mayor de Blasio, and ask that they take action now to expedite permits and funds to keep the B&H alive. We cannot afford to lose this one.

Here’s Mark-Viverito’s email: mviverito@council.nyc.gov.

Rosie Mendez’s email: Rmendez@council.nyc.gov

or you can email the mayor’s office here.

UPDATE 5:28 p.m. More from Andy reynolds this afternoon via B&H’s Facebook page:

B&H and City Hall update, following an email exchange between me and Susan Stetzer, District Manager, Community Board 3, Manhattan. 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. From what B&H tells me, Nation is a great advocate and doing everything in her power. The latest application for work just came in last week, so now it’s on to getting the upgrades completed. Regarding funds from Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for businesses who were affected by the March 26 explosion and fire, the fund is administered by the Lower East Side BID (Business Improvement District), which is working on the business applications for this money as you read this. In a nutshell, everything that can be done is being done according to those doing it. Let’s turn our focus to raising money to Save the B&H. SaveNYC has already expressed an interest so, much to talk about. More soon.