Thursday, January 5, 2012

Inwood Three Alarm Fire Heats Up A Freezing Night

Last night at this time a three-alarm fire broke out inside a store on 207th and Broadway that eventually took out more than half a dozen businesses. I didn't smell any smoke and heard no fire engines, but did hear noise from the street that I attributed to some kind of work being done by Con Ed or a city agency, which is not unusual around here. It was disturbing to me and I was agitated, as if I knew on some level that destruction was going on nearby. It was bitterly cold, in the teens, and that makes fighting these fires even harder. Apparently it broke out at about 11 PM and still was smoldering 12 hours later. The streets, awnings, and cars were covered with ice and icicles. Thankfully, no one lived above the stores affected, and miraculously, the apartment building next door sustained no damage. Two cats in an affected pet shop were carried out to safety. Inwood, in uppermost Manhattan, is like a little village. There are no high-rise buildings and there are many mom and pop stores. Everyone knows the names of the managers and owners of various restaurants, grocery stores, cleaners, etc. When I moved here over 10 years ago, it was like this as well, with lots of artists and performers in the neighborhood, but in those 10 years, much has changed. More families have moved in and there is a feeling of something being continued and rebuilt for a new generation. Just today I joined an Inwood community group - I - who has never been a joiner or much of a participant in organized anything. The businesses affected by this fire are as follows: Bread and Yoga, a popular spot that I have been meaning to join for ages to hopefully get these old bones and joints in better shape, Law Offices of L. Rosman, Dichter Pharmacy, a major neighborhood resource managing to compete with a giant Rite Aid across the street, Bank of America, Citibank, Burhan Hardware, who had opened only this fall or summer, Broadway China, a restaurant which had been closed, Furry Fiends, a pet shop (no animals were lost), A dentist and a flower shop were also affected, but I am not sure of the names at this writing. There were other businesses closed on Broadway but they may be able to reopen, though the corner affected will most surely have to be torn down. You can read about it here. More pictures are at my Flickr "Inwood" Set here. The top row of pics are the most recent, and you'll also get a nice taste of the neighborhood. I certainly hope that these businesses will be able to secure enough insurance money so they can rebuild. And people, make sure that you have renter's insurance, if you rent, so that you are literally not left out in the cold. Smoke alarms and renter's insurance are a must! I don't know why I suddenly cannot make paragraphs, so I apologize for the giant block of text that makes this harder to read. If anyone knows a way around this, please let me know!

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