Nicholas Figueroa, who died in the East Village explosion last week, grew up and went to school on the Upper West Side, and his father still works here as an assistant superintendent and handyman at 219 West 81st street, known as the Avonova. Nicholas, 23, was eating lunch at Sushi Park on 2nd Avenue between 7th and 8th streets on March 26 when an explosion destroyed the first floor of the building and set off a massive fire. A worker at the restaurant also died.
Neighbors in the building on 81st street (pictured at left) have helped fund a campaign to pay for Figueroa’s funeral. As of Tuesday afternoon, the same day the fundraising drive launched, it had pulled in more than $13,000 from 167 people; the goal is to raise $20,000. “Any donation will be appreciated and used properly to give the funeral this young man deserves,” said his brother, who set up the campaign.
Building residents and staff together donated $3,000.
One woman who grew up in the building reached out to us to explain the special part that the Figueroa family had played in her life and the lives of her neighbors. Nicholas went to PS 75 on West 95th street and then attended the selective Beacon School.
“The Figueroa family has been in my and many of my neighbor’s lives for almost 30 years, as Nicholas’ father, uncle, cousins and brothers have all worked at 219 W. 81st at some point starting in the the 1980s. We basically grew up with the Figueroa’s, many of whom currently work in neighboring buildings on the UWS. The family has consistently gone above and beyond for those living in the area. This situation is heartbreaking and the last thing the family should have to worry about is the cost to give their son a proper funeral and burial.”
If you would like to donate or learn more about the campaign, click here.
Clarification: We originally reported that Joseph Esposito, the commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, had donated $2,000, based on an account from a tipster. Someone by that name did indeed give $2,000, but our tipster has since told us that the person who donated the money may be a different Joseph Esposito.