The AP and others are reporting that the explosion this morning at 32 East 62nd Street was, indeed, as we'd noted was rumored, being investigated as an aggressively bold suicide attempt by building owner Dr. Nicholas Bartha, who as a result of recent divorce proceedings was being forced to sell the building. Instead of selling, as we now know, it seems he blew the place to bits, shutting down midtown, injuring 11, including himself and five firefighters, and causing millions of dollars in damage and lost business.
Let us review: An ugly divorce leads to an uglier aftermath in which the parties involved carve out a massive path of destruction and exhibit a complete disregard for their neighbors. All in all, just another day on the Upper East Side.
· 11 injured in NYC building gas explosion [AP]
· UES Explosion: Republican Suicide Attempt? [Gawker]
· BREAKING: 32 East 62nd Before the Fall [Curbed]
· BREAKING: Building Collapse on the Upper East Side [Curbed]
UPDATE: Re the aforementioned matter of Bartha v. Bartha, the opinion of the NY Appellate Court, in all its glory, is here.
UPDATE II: This is bizarre: Michael Calderone is reporting that Elliman broker Mark Baum received an email from Dr. Bartha moments before the explosion. (Seems he'd brokered at least one rental in the building before.) The contents of the "rambling, 15-page" email have not been made public.