On Thursday, the NYPD arrested five people in connection with the East Village gas explosion that killed two people and leveled three buildings last spring. Four were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors said that the building owner’s greed and willingness to take shortcuts caused the loss of life.
UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: One of the deceased has been identified as 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa. According to reports, Figueroa was on a first date and reportedly got caught in the worst of the blast when he walked to the back of the restaurant, apparently to pay the check. His date, who was apparently waiting at the table, survived with a broken rib and punctured lung.
A building in Manhattan's East Village has reportedly collapsed following a large explosion. Hundreds of fire firefighters are reportedly at the scene, battling what's become a seven-alarm blaze. The New York Post is reporting that as many as 30 people are missing while the New York Daily News reports that at least six people—including two firefighters—have been injured, one critically.
When I talk about my downtown life as a kid, people ask how old I am. Growing up in New York City in the 70s was more like being an urchin of the 30s than a silver spoon of the 80s. I'm more likely to share recollections with a 70-year old—playing stoop, jumping off the piers—than to wax fondly upon the boy bands, cocaine, and angular sports cars of Ronald Reagan's second term.
Most reasonable people can agree that the only thing missing from the modern church experience is Death Cab for Cutie lyrics. The arrival, then, of the Trinity Grace Church to New York City's East Village ("a neighborhood perceived by many as libertine," The New York Times hazards) proves welcome: Trinity Grace's pastor and founder, 33-year-old Guy Wasko, quotes from Death Cab as freely as he does from scripture. And that's not all! The Rev. Wasko, we are told by the Times, sports "spiky brown hair" and "eight-gauge steel posts in both ears"; he has a tattoo, and, judging by the accompanying photographs, a soul patch. In other words: This guy is legit. And thanks to him, the East Village is getting a dose of rock 'n roll preaching: