Last March's explosion in the East Village nearly decimated one bar's home in a historic building.
Jimmy's No. 43, a classic pub with an upscale menu, was directly next to the wreckage. While it escaped the fire and explosions, the water damage caused it to close for two weeks. Thanks to a loyal following, Jimmy's has since re-opened and it's become something more than the anchor of the oft-called "Brew-muda Triangle" along with adjacent bars Burp Castle and Standings.
It is a symbol of a community persevering through tragedy, locals say.
"I live in Astoria, Queens, but it's worth the schlep to Jimmy's No. 43 for the warmth of the welcome of this neighborhood bar," patron Justin Robertson said one recent evening. "I'm so glad that in the midst of the recent tragedy on Second Ave. that a place like Jimmy's still remains as a community meeting place."
Jimmy's No. 43 was first opened by Jimmy Carbone in September 2005, in a building that has become hallowed ground for beer enthusiasts because some of New Yorker's first homebrewing clubs met there in the 1980s.
Carbone was at Jimmy's when the explosion happened.
"I was right there at the bar," he recalled. "I walked past [the explosion site] 20 minutes before. We had just opened. The explosion took place 10 feet from our kitchen, so I first thought the explosion was the kitchen. Then when I heard windows breaking, I thought it was kids. When I heard glass, I ran upstairs, saw the entire windows of this coffee shop had blown out, ran to the corner and the entire front of the sushi restaurant had blown out. You knew something was wrong."
Jimmy's was evacuated shortly after as Carbone followed the fallout through social media. While the fire stopped short of harming Jimmy's, the all-night firefighters' spraying caused the bar to suffer water damage. The city's investigation kept the joint closed for more than a week, but after its staff brought in a professional cleaning crew, they were ready to re-open.
The water damage was comparable to what Jimmy's suffered during Superstorm Sandy, so fortunately the bar was experienced in recovering from disasters. While closed, Jimmy's raised money by selling gift certificates, leading to a show of support that was seen as soon as the bar reopened.
Now the bar is back with a full liquor license and several new tastings of beer and liquors, as well as a newly-planned menu for the summer.
"Our biggest struggle now is letting people know that we're open," Carbone said.