A fire at 43 Moultrie Street on Friday, August 19th, went to 2 alarms before being controlled by the FDNY.

On Sunday, August 21st, the building’s sole tenant, Doris Yao, was seeing to some straightening of the space while her landlord straightened up after Friday’s fire.

Yao said that the FDNY had told her the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but that it might have originated next door, at 41 Moultrie.

Yao uses the space to store ice and some supplies for her food vendor service, A-Pou’s Taste (which Yao laughingly translated from Chinese as meaning “the old woman’s taste,” as in the old woman knows how to cook) which has four locations in Manhattan, including City Hall and on the LES.

A large, full container of debris from the incident sat outside the building, to be picked up later that night.


Having relocated to a Greenpoint space from her former space in East Williamsburg, Yao jokes that she is “the bitch of the street,” as she is the only female business person on the block, which runs north/south between Meserole and Norman Avenues.

But when Yao arrived to the scene of the fire on Friday, she saw not only a mass of FDNY trucks, but all of her neighbors arrived and offered tools to help and then to clean up. “I love this neighborhood,” said Yao, who has been living in the United States for thirty years, mostly based in New York.

Yao’s landlord, while reticent to speak with me, seemed to have met Yao’s expectations in helping clean up the damages. Already a brand new roof appeared to be in place, although the VACATE sign from the Department of Buildings was still prominently affixed to the door.

Having owned A-Pou’s Taste for almost one year, Yao moved spaces to Greenpoint from East Williamsburg when she acquired the food vendor business. Yao had formerly rented space in East Williamsburg, at Meserole Ave & Bushwick Place, where she says she did not feel safe. One frightening incident occurred when a large man attempted to steal her computer from her office; when the not very tall Yao confronted the man, he claimed to be looking for a job, and Yao told him there were none available and he left. Another time, after parking her moving truck outside the East Williamsburg space for an hour, she came back to find a wheel and several parts of her engine missing.

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, Yao, her business and her Greenpoint space seem back to her liking, great news for anyone in the neighborhood who is nice enough to be a bitch of the block.


Some photos of the blaze can be seen here.

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