Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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East Harlem Businesses Try to Make Sense of Tragedy

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As the search for answers goes on, the neighborhood surrounding the East Harlem blast site searches for some return to normalcy. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

George Abi-Hassoun's family has owned a dress shop on the corner of 115th Street and Park Avenue for a half century. But he's never seen anything like what happened nearby last week. The blast blew out the windows on his shop.

"The rumble, the vibration, you felt the thunder, you felt the impact," he said.

Because of the street closures and how unsettled the neighborhood is, he says business is down, way down, but says he has much to be thankful for.

"Since Tuesday of last week we haven't sold anything but at the end of the day I'm just very grateful to be alive. Compared to the people that have lost their lives and been displaced. Very fortunate and very very blessed," Abi-Housson said.

It's much the same for everyone who lives or works close by. Gary Lewis is only two buildings down from the explosion site.

"You can't walk around like you normally would. You can't park your car in front of the building. You can't just come in and out. It's really tough," Lewis said. "It's such a tragedy."

And while investigators still work to determine a cause, Abi-Housson is hopeful the community will continue to rally and support the families of those affected.

"It's not about the money really. It's about lives. It's about people, one helping the other and we as a community as a people, really come together when we need to come together most," Abi-Housson said.

There is still a considerable number of street closures in this area and until that changes many people here say it won't start to feel like normal.

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