Looking Back & Moving Forward
A Special Message for Our El Barrio/East Harlem Community
By New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
It’s been six months since the deadly building collapse and explosion in El Barrio/East Harlem that killed eight, injured dozens, and left many of our friends and neighbors without their homes.
As painful and devastating as this entire experience has been, it brought out the very best in our community. We pulled together like no other neighborhood in our city can, collecting food, clothing and other donations and helping those who were injured and displaced by the blast.
That’s what East Harlem/El Barrio is all about, and I couldn’t be more proud to represent such a strong, caring and generous district.
That said, I know many pressing issues remain.
As we continue to rebuild and recover from the blast, we need to make sure every effort is being made to invest in the affected area.
One way that we are doing that is through the State’s recently announced East Harlem Small Business Emergency Loan Program, which will provide loans to business owners impacted by the explosion. These loans will greatly help business owners get back on their feet, and I would encourage all eligible business owners to apply. You can read more about the eligibility requirements for this important program and how to apply at http://on.ny.gov/YDVBXA.
We are also continuing to invest in and reinvigorate La Marqueta, which, as you know, served as a vital relief center after the explosion. The same strong sense of community that helped us to rebuild after the blast is driving a new revitalization effort at the market that will help further our recovery and make this market the vibrant hub of activity that we all know it can be.
These last six months have been extremely difficult for our entire community, especially those who lost loved ones, saw their businesses and homes destroyed, and are still piecing their lives back together. But we have done an incredible job supporting one another and helping ourselves get through this, and I can’t thank you enough for staying so strong.
The explosion in March may have devastated a part of our community, but it didn’t destroy our spirit, and I know that we will continue to recover and grow stronger in the months ahead.