The Real Deal New York

Drea de Matteo loses apartment in East Village explosion

"Sopranos" actress called the unit at 123 Second Ave. home for 22 years

March 27, 2015 12:50PM

Drea de Matteo Second Avenue

From left: Drea de Matteo and the site of Thursday’s explosion on Second Avenue

UPDATED, 12:34 a.m., March 28: “Sopranos” star Drea de Matteo’s apartment was a casualty of Thursday’s explosion in the East Village, which led to the collapse of two buildings. 

“A hole where my N.Y.C. home of 22 years once stood,” De Matteo said on Instagram. “RIP 123 2nd Avenue.”

A five-story building at Second Avenue and Seventh Street collapsed on Thursday afternoon after what was likely an explosion. Preliminary evidence suggested a gas explosion amid plumbing and gas work inside one of the buildings was to blame.

After the blast at 121 Second Avenue, fire soon spread to the adjacent 123 Second Avenue. At least 19 people were injured during the explosion, four were in critical condition and two people were still unaccounted for as of Friday morning.

De Matteo also posted a photo on Instagram on Thursday, thanking the hundreds of fire fighters for putting out the blaze.

“N.Y.C.’s finest [tried] to put out the flames to mine and many others’ apartments,” she wrote. [NJ.com] — Claire Moses

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the status of 123 Second Avenue. It is a rental building. 

  • meh

    not a co-op…tell me she wasn’t in a rent stabilized apartment all this time

    checkyafacts

    • Free Market Apologist

      Definitely a rental building. If she’s been there 22 years, she’s been there nearly half her life.

      • realestate pro

        haha I also checked and can confirm that…though if she’s in a rent stabilized and paying less than me for what I have I’d be really angry…

  • kkfiregirl

    FDNY are the Bravest, NYPD are the Finest, just a fyi

  • TJ

    This is rental building 123 2nd Avenue.
    http://streeteasy.com/building/123-2-avenue-manhattan
    Real Deal check your facts!

  • T R

    If she was in a rent stabilized apartment something is really wrong! Totally unfair to those who need an affordable home. Not to steer away from the tragedy of the fire but this is why I cannot blame landlords for trying to get out of rent stabilization. The process is unfair and those in a stabilized apartment pass the apartment on to their family leaving everybody else without a chance of getting one. They cry about unfairness but look at what they do to everyone else trying to get in. So, its every man for themselves and if i owned the building I cant wait to catch you screwing up so i can throw you out!

    • Charles Dale

      I live in a rent stabilized apt. since 1975 and am very happy I do. I was a bus operator for 7 years and then suffered ischemic optic neuropathy and BBPV which put me on Social Security Disability after a 2 year process after applying. I am in a building complex that went co-op in 1991 but gave residents the choice to keep renting or buying. The maintenance was higher than my rent and then you would have to put a mortgage on top of that. Also, there were years where the maintenance went up 25% one year and 24% the very next year while my rent usually goes up on average 2% a year for my 2 year leases that I take. Also, when I need something fixed in my apt., they do it for free while the shareholders have to pay for maintenance in their apt. The 3 buildings are now about 70% shareholders and 30% renters. I have a full 2 bedrooms on the 14th floor, 10 windows including the kitchen and bathroom, 1,000 square feet and gas and electric included in my rent of $ 967.00 in Rego Park Queens. Where would I be able to afford to live in any of the 5 boroughs if not for rent stabilization? My income from SSDI would prevent me from qualifying for even a low rental anywhere. I am for means testing for rent stabilized apts. You need to make at least 3 times what the rent is per month to qualify to rent just about anywhere’s so even for a $700 a month apt. you need an income of $2,100 a month. I get less than that from SSDI.

      • T R

        Charles,
        Your situation and others alike is where i agree with rent stabilization. Where I draw the line is when, i’m only being hypothetical and as an example, you decide to hand your apartment to someone in your family or a friend by finding loopholes or beating the system and they get to take over your apartment with all the free perks and largely discounted rent. The system is not fair because people in rent stabilized apartments fight to keep them within their family and lock everybody out who deserves a chance at an apartment. They are the first to scream bloody murder and hold rally’s when there is a minimal rent hike because they feel entitled to cheap rent. Landlords actually lose money with rent stabilized apartments but people think they are rich. People who have a rent stabilized apartment should be grateful because their landlord is giving them charity.

        • Charles Dale

          That is why I am for means testing for people who have rent control or rent stabilized apts. I am grateful for my rent stabilized apt. but as for the landlord giving them charity, the landlord is just following the laws for rent stabilization and rent control with many trying to get those tenants out illegally. My landlord never tried that and there have been a few different owners, over the years, for the 3 building complex I live in so that is good but if rent stabilization and rent control ever was abolished, the landlords would raise the rent in a New York minute even if the tenants truly had low incomes and need it. There are people in the building I live in who rent and are on SCRIE and DRIE who have low rents from rent stabilization and also have their rents frozen because of SCRIE and DRIE. I qualify for DRIE and had my rent frozen to so when rent increases are voted on in NewYork once a year, my rent goes up but I do not pay the increase since the increase is paid by the laws of DRIE and for seniors it is SCRIE. That is not a charity by the landlord either. They again, are just following the law.

    • taconation

      How are you going to buy a building if you can’t afford to rent an apartment in NYC?? She grew up in Queens, got an apartment when she was 21 and stayed there. SO WHAT! You would have done the same damn thing.

      • T R

        She’s only there because the rent is cheap and no other reason. It’s funny how NY liberals and TV stars talk about giving to the needy and helping one another for equality but when it comes to leaving a rent controlled apartment they will never give someone a chance. It’s okay, as long as long it not from my pocket is the mentality. I wouldn’t do the same thing because once i outgrow a place I leave and that’s why i own a house. Who’s talking about buying a building?

        • comment flagged

          Are you against rent stabilization in general or specifically for 21-year old aspiring actresses from Queens getting them in the East Village in 1993?

          • T R

            I’m against people that feed off of the system. The system needs regulating because these apartments should not be somewhat inherited and getting one should not feel like you hit the lotto. There are more deserving people that can use a rent stabilized apartment but wont get it because successful people don’t move out.

          • comment flagged

            >apartments should not be somewhat inherited and getting one should not feel like you hit the lotto.

            Should this apply also to the landlord’s children who won the lotto by being born into wealth?

          • T R

            Having a rent stabilized apartment should have income regulations as well as restrictions. Nobody should be allowed to pass-on their apartment because this leaves no chance for legitimate people needing a place. It is like hitting the lotto for a few reasons because your name possibly came up on the 5 mile waiting list and now you have a rent stabilized apartment or a management company “hooked” you up.

            Being born into wealth is a privilege and rich kids didn’t take anything or any chances away from someone. The wealth its theirs and they are fortunate to be born a few steps ahead of the rest of us. Besides rich people are needed because they employ people and the taxes they pay can feed some countries.

          • comment flagged

            Rent Stabilization DOES have income regulations, provided the legal rent is at or above the vacancy destabilization minimum. The thing about successful artists, actors, salespeople, and other 1099’ers, is that one year you might make $100,000, the next you might make $15,000–there’s no way of knowing.

    • comment flagged

      She moved in 22-years ago. Did Drea de Matteo 22-years ago also not “deserve” a rent stabilized apartment. I’m no advocate of rent stabilization because granting people live-tenancy limits the ability to vacate, demolish, and build more housing–affordable or otherwise, but if she were paying market rate rent, maybe she would have had to work more of a waitress and less as an actress. Maybe should would have had to miss more castings and auditions. Maybe she would have never gotten her big break.

      • T R

        Who cares if she had to work more as a waitress and miss castings! There are millions of people that work second jobs & overtime just to make ends meet and will never get that acting break that she did. Shouldn’t those (waitresses) people “deserve” a rent stabilized apartment? She already made her money and will never leave that place. Shouldn’t the waitress deserve a first chance? That waitress won’t get a break because people never leave the stabilized apartments.

        • comment flagged

          TR, her landlord could have taken her apartment out of stabilization if he could prove she made $200,000 for two consecutive years, which should be easy to do for a public figure on a popular television program. You’re absolutely right that millions will never get the chance she did, but that should be an argument about Rent Stabilization in general, not her specific apartment.

  • Charles Dale

    I am for rent stabilization but after you read my story, you will see why. I live in a rent stabilized apt. since 1975 and am very happy I do. I was a bus operator for 7 years and then suffered ischemic optic neuropathy and BBPV which put me on Social Security Disability after a 2 year process after applying. I am in a building complex that went co-op in 1991 but gave residents the choice to keep renting or buying. The maintenance was higher than my rent and then you would have to put a mortgage on top of that. Also, there were years where the maintenance went up 25% one year and 24% the very next year while my rent usually goes up on average 2% a year for my 2 year leases that I take. Also, when I need something fixed in my apt., they do it for free while the shareholders have to pay for maintenance in their apt. The 3 buildings are now about 70% shareholders and 30% renters. I have a full 2 bedrooms on the 14th floor, 10 windows including the kitchen and bathroom, 1,000 square feet and gas and electric included in my rent of $ 967.00 in Rego Park Queens. Where would I be able to afford to live in any of the 5 boroughs if not for rent stabilization? My income from SSDI would prevent me from qualifying for even a low rental anywhere. I am for means testing for rent stabilized apts. You need to make at least 3 times what the rent is per month to qualify to rent just about anywhere’s so even for a $700 a month apt. you need an income of $2,100 a month. I get less than that from SSDI.

  • James Louis

    She can come and live with me for free!

  • wolftimber

    I can remember around 1980 sub-renting a corner apartment on
    MacDougal st by Wash Sq park/NYU on the 5th floor of a walk-up that an
    older friend and his wife moved out out that was under rent control, the
    rent was a laughable $70/mo and included heat, hot water etc.
    I used it for storage for over a year, just mailing in the rent check for $70 each month. It had a little view of the park.
    Rent
    control like that is a scam, it’s a big reason why so many buildings
    were abandoned in the 70s and 80s on the Lower East side and elsewhere,
    seriously, an apartment for $70/mo at a time when people were paying
    $800 and $1,000 a month for one around there??

  • wolftimber

    I just looked up 125 Second ave, the damaged but standing 7 story walk-up tenement to see how much real estate tax it pays.
    According to the records, the city put a crazy value of $2,318,000 on this 120 year old junky walk-up tenement! The annual taxes it has showing are $134,091
    Typical of these tenements there’s a store on the ground floor and 4 apts on each floor, that makes it 24 apts and 1 store, averaged all together as 25 “units” it comes to $5,363 EACH for real estate taxes alone, or close to $500 a month each the owner has to fork over to the city in just real estate tax alone.
    Then there’s heat, hot water, lighting in the public hallways etc., insurance, maintenance, a super’s cost if there is one.
    And people wonder why landlords walk away from buildings like these or don’t maintain them!

    Looking up 119 Second ave, one of the buildings that collapsed, the city claims it’s value was $2,907,000 and it’s annual tax is $168,163

    By contrast, where I live in the Midwest I bought a 25×100′ brick retail store building with 13 foot ceilings, it’s original ca 1910 decorative tin celing and a full finished basement, and two large display windows overlooking the city park 1/2 a block from City Hall for $15,000
    The annual tax is $990

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