Pommes Frites, the 18-year-old Belgian-style French fry restaurant that was destroyed in a devastating gas explosion in March 2015 in Manhattan’s East Village, has reopened its doors, this time in the West Village.
In late March of last year, illegal tampering with a gas line resulted in an explosion that caused the collapse of two buildings on Second Avenue, as well as a neighboring property. Other businesses destroyed included Sushi Park and a longstanding neighborhood store, Sam’s Deli.
At least 19 people were injured in the explosion, and two men, 23 and 27 years of age, were crushed to death.
Earlier this year, Maria Hrynenko — the owner of 121 Second Avenue where the explosion originated — was indicted, along with her son and three others, on manslaughter charges for illegally tampering with gas lines in order to siphon gas between buildings.
Pommes Frites opened in its new space on MacDougal Street on Monday, May 23.
“Reopening is extremely poignant for me,” Pommes Frites’ co-owner, Suzanne Levinson told the New York Times. “But it doesn’t change what happened. The day that the building collapsed, I did not mourn the loss of my business. I haven’t mourned the loss of my business for one day. It’s just a business.”
“When I think about what happened to us, I don’t think about us, I think about what happened to the young men. We are insignificant compared to the impact this had, compared to what happened to the families and loved ones. We’re French fries.”