Con Edison to Pay Businesses Near Harlem Building Explosion Site

By Brynn Gingras
|  Thursday, Mar 27, 2014  |  Updated 6:59 AM EDT
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Con Edison said Wednesday that it will give compensation payments to business owners whose shops are near the site of a building explosion that rocked upper Manhattan earlier this month. Brynn Gingras reports.

NBC 4 New York

Con Edison said Wednesday that it will give compensation payments to business owners whose shops are near the site of a building explosion that rocked upper Manhattan earlier this month. Brynn Gingras reports.

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Con Edison said Wednesday that it will give compensation payments to business owners whose shops are near the site of a building explosion that rocked upper Manhattan earlier this month.

The utility said it will be reaching out to at least 14 Harlem businesses near the site of the March 12 blast on 116th Street that destroyed two buildings and killed eight people. Con Edison made similar payments to dozens of residents and survivors who were displaced by the explosion.

“We were talking to residents and we were offering them living expenses for those who had been moved out of the block, so this is kind of the same thing for businesses in the immediate area,” said Mike Clendenin, a utility spokesman. “We’re just trying to help them out and see if they can recover.”

The payments come as many business struggle to make repairs and reopen their doors.

Sahara Boutique sits across the street from what is now a gaping hole on 116th Street. The shop's owner, Kadia Ba, said that when the buildings exploded, the door blew off the frame and storefront windows were turned to spiderwebs of cracked glass. Her store just reopened, but business hasn't been the same since the blast.
 
“There is no foot traffic, everyone is still avoiding the block,” she said. “People are still mourning.”

Ba said she was offered $2,000 by the utility, about half of what repairs will cost. She said other expenses have also piled up in the two weeks since. 

“I hope they come up with a better number or at least give us more money,” she said.  

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