Monday, December 22, 2014

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East Harlem Tragedy Rattles Business Owners Nearby

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East Harlem businesses are struggling in the wake of the deadly building collapse. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

The powerful explosion Wednesday shook a UPS Store on Lexington Avenue just a block from where it happened, even leading to cracks in the ceiling. Abu Rahman just opened the store last week.

"The entire store actually shook. We had debris fall off, we have cracks right there. Everything just kind of fell, that's how much it shook," Rahman recalled.

With parts of the area still shut down as the investigation and cleanup continues, Rahman says business has suffered.

"A lot of people were not able to bring in packages to ship. So it kind of slowed things down especially because we opened up last week," he said.

The Associated Supermarket is on 116th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues, where the street is still closed. The store is open but customers need to get past a checkpoint to get there.

"As a business aspect I hope it gets back to normal quickly but the realization is we know it's not going to happen as quickly as we think it is, you know. There's a lot of work to be done there and I'm sure a lot of the emergency vehicles are going to be here, they are going to be here for awhile," said Abel Almonte, an Associated Supermarket employee.

Almonte said he feels for the victims and their families. Some shopped at his store.

"It hurts more knowing that a couple of our customers were lost in that explosion so loss of life is greater than what we we losing here," Almonte said.

At the Raysol Pharmacy, there has been a rush of people displaced by the tragedy who needed prescriptions left behind or destroyed.

"It's sad and concerning, some people came in yesterday who were displaced because of the explosion and I heard their stories about the shelters and they had no family to stay with so that was pretty sad," said Jamie Toledo, a Raysol Pharmacy employee.

Many shops on 116th Street remained closed on Friday with many business owners not even bothering to open up because of the lack of business. But the main concern among everyone seems to be those lost or hurt -- many who were regular customers in this usually bustling business district. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP