The Carnegie Deli is still closed more than six months after shuttering following inspectors' discovery of an illegal gas hookup, and staffers are furious that there is no reopening in sight, the NY Post reports. The famous Midtown deli's 70 workers are soon to run out of unemployment payments, and the rent-controlled tenants upstairs are still without heat, hot water, and cooking gas.
"It's been very difficult because [of] all these violations. It was the company's fault," Uniter Here union rep Gilbert Palacios told the tabloid.
The famed deli has to pass a Buildings Department test before it can reopen, and Con Edison is awaiting the city's okay to do its own tests before the final flip of the switch. Owner Marian Harper Levine said she had thought work done to fix the gas lines would allow the eatery to reopen this month, but that hope was dashed.
"There was a setback in a recent inspection where more work was required to bring the Carnegie Deli up to code," Levine told the tabloid.
Con Edison workers went to the 78-year-old pastrami palace in April to check out a report of a gas leak, and discovered piping that bypassed the meter, which they later determined had existed since 2009. Harper Levine was in the midst of a divorce with husband Sanford Levine, who oversaw the deli's day-to-day operations. At a divorce hearing in August, Judge Matthew Cooper called Levine "the Shyster of Smoked Meat," and scolded him for a previous multi-million dollar wage theft settlement the restaurant paid its workers, his affair with a Thai server whom Harper Levine claims he slipped recipes to so she could start her own business, and for the alleged gas tampering.
"Somebody did something to these gas pipes that would have caused people to die for the sake of making some bucks," Cooper said. "The Carnegie Deli is in Midtown Manhattan. If that building had exploded, who knows how many people would have died."