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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fire Guts 14 stores in Norwood.

October 31 2009: An early Saturday morning 5 alarm fire gutted 14 stores on the corner of East 204 street and Bainbridge ave. After receiving a phone call from a friend, I rushed to the location at about 3:30 am. The air was filled with a light drizzle and thick heavy smoke. Our brave fire fighters fought hard to bring the fire under control. Its with a sad heart I bring you these photographs as this is a big blow to my neighborhood.

Partial list of businesses effected by the fire:
1) Yasmins Barber Shop
2) Candy & Grocery
3) Plaza Rio Nilo Records
4) Dunkin' Donuts
5) ZNS Realty Corp
6) Bainbridge Fish Market
7) Neighborhood Gift & Wireless
8) European Minimarket
9) Bainbridge Bakery and pastry
10) El Diamante Poblano II Restaurant
11) Betty's Place
12) Ming Wong


  1. Great work as a photojournalist, Adi.
    Sorry for the blow to your nabe.

  2. As you know Adi, your right, it is a big blow -to me as well.

    It was sad to walk down East 204th this AM and see what was once a vibrant merchant district, from 1909-to 1994, dormaint till 2001, and rebounding into a new vibrant merchant strip-destoyed-for the moment-destoyed the past and the present.

    But the future? Lets hope after 90 years, this will NOW be the reason for finally bringing REAL Economic strength into our neighborhood.

    Many people hope so!.

    Great work with he photos

  3. Does anybody have a list of the stores affected?

  4. Thank you for sharing these photos, Adi...what a sad night for the 204th/Bainbridge strip. And the bakery looked like it was finally set to open soon after recovering from the fire in the spring!

  5. So sad for the nice people at the Ming Wong.

  6. OMG. how terrible.

  7. Heart breaking ........those store owners must be devasted.

  8. I had my ice cream store there Magic Fountain from 1978 til 1990 What a blow

  9. I hope, as a community, we all do what we can to help these businesses and assist in the rebuilding. So many of the businesses lost were real assets to this neighborhood. It's devastating.

    Let's also work to assure that whatever is rebuilt is do so with integrity. So much of the new construction in this area is cheap and careless. Let's replace these lost gems with respect and care.

  10. Sigh. Two to three stories of commercial space to come. Bye-bye sunlight...

  11. Oh no! I was away this weekend and just got back to see the destruction on my block (literally behind my building). Adi, thanks for these incredible photos.

    I'm feeling down about it, thinking about how long it took to rebuild the commercial space on Kingsbridge and Creston... that might have been two years to get businesses back in place! Hopefully this won't take so long.

    Someone asked for a list of businesses. I haven't even gone out to look at it yet, but by the pictures and my memory, here's my guess at the 14 shops:

    Yasmin's barber shop (where i get my hair cut)
    The bodega/candy store next door
    The fish store (we go there often)
    Dunkin Donuts (only bagels in the area)
    Mexican Restaurant (just ate there this week)
    ZNS Realty
    European Mini Market
    The bakery (getting ready to re-open)
    A bangladeshi bodega
    Nelson's fish and chips
    Mexican Bodega (that always had great avocados)
    Butcher shop? (Hillside Meats)
    Did it reach all the way to CVS???

    So, while i'm not 100% certain on the list, you can see these are all vital parts of the neighborhood and represent a diversity of products and services. it's hard to think of a more diverse and important strip of stores in the neighborhood.

    perhaps the fact that at least one (dunkin donuts) and maybe two (cvs) of the businesses are national chains will speed up the rebuilding process.

  12. Wow sad news and what a blow to the small businesses in the neighborhood! How did you get the aerial photos?

  13. Stephen Baron: The aerial photographs were made from the top of a building just behind the fire.
    Everyone: Thank you for your kind words.

  14. Obviously the real journalists will have all the details up soon, but I did walk by this morning and spoke with the owner of the butcher shop -- looks like they were spared any real damage, but they, and the two shops between them and CVS, are without power for now.

    Since all of the awnings are down, it's hard to remember exactly which store was where. CVS is open.

    Also, there is a sign for a demolition company on the plywood fence right at the corner of 204th and Bainbridge, though it's not clear how much will actually get torn down.

  15. Thanks, Greg. We are working on gathering all the info now and this is helpful. We hope to have a thorough report up on the Norwood News Web site up (linked to here) by day's end. Senator Espada is about to go on a tour of the merchant district at 11:30.
    There will be a meeting later this week with affected merchants and city agencies this week, but there are no details on this yet. I had initially heard that there was a meeting tomorrow morning at Holy nativity but that's incorrect.
    Thanks everyone for all of your posts. It's not only helpful to us, but it gives everyone a sense of community that is so important at a time like this.
    If anyone has suggestions or thoughts on how the Bronx News Network and the Norwood News can help, let me know.

  16. I would guess Jordan, that The Norwood News and BNN Specifically can cover; the past, present and future of The 204th St/Bainbridge Strip.
    As former merchant association president, it saddens my heart that two fires have taken place on the strip-especially after all of the hard working merchants that have brought a "re-birth" on the strip since 1994. It is ironically crazy for example, to see Nora Fuery, former Chairwoman of CB 7 come to see for herself-the destruction of a 90 year strip-but hopefully not a 90 year old feel of community.

    The 204th/Bainbridge Strip, since 1909 have brought "Merchants", taking care of community". Now, it must be the other way around.

    I am sure Mosholu preservation Corp and elected officals, from Koppell, Rivera, to Espada, "our new community strength" will assist in bringing us-hope for a NEW merchant area. It will be vital to keep the "community " presence of The 204th/Bainbridge Merchant Strip

  17. How sad I always went to that whole strip until I recently moved- thank God no one was hurt.


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