My Buddy Jimmy

One thing that is remarkable about the craft beer scene is that it is a community. And there is no better champion for craft beer in New York City than Jimmy Carbone. Jimmy is the host of Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network.

He was kind enough to have me on his program when I produced my first beer event this past summer. On that program we tasted all 12 of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America collaboration beers in less than an hour and he made sure that I was able to chime in on a phone conversation with Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada and Rob Tod from Allagash, among many other heavy hitters in the beer industry. Yeah, he's that kind of guy.

The entrance to Jimmy's No. 43 in February of 2013.

The entrance to Jimmy's No. 43 in February of 2013.

Jimmy is also the proprietor of Jimmy's No. 43, a restaurant and pub in the East Village with deep roots in the craft beer community. Through both his radio program and restaurant, Jimmy is a fiercely passionate advocate for craft beer; having identified the trend well before the current wave of interest began to tick upward. Jimmy is a visionary who took a chance on craft before many others were willing to give it a try. His spot sits along a stretch of 3 beer bars; Jimmy's No. 43, Standings, and Burp Castle (where the New York City Homebrewers Guild [NYCHG] holds their monthly meetings). These are bars that also share deep roots in the homebrew community and are affectionately referred to as The Brewmuda Triangle. Jimmy lets the NYCHG hold their BJCP course in his back room at no cost to the club. I had many styles for the first time in that room. The back room of Jimmy's No. 43 is also important to the downtown independent theater scene  where he regularly hosts readings and performances of new plays. Jimmy's is even used as a venue for the NY International Fringe Festival. The very first photo published on this blog was taken in the backroom during Jimmy's Homebrew Jamboree during NYC Beer Week in February. Always ready with a high five or a hug, I first met Jimmy on a busy Saturday night at his place and told him I was a homebrewer. He promptly gave me his personal email address, asked me to email him, and never forgot my name. 

Carbone is also no stranger to disaster having owned a business during the attacks on 9/11 and again, a few years ago when Hurricane Sandy left lower Manhattan without power and essential services for days. So it's hard to comprehend that on March 26th disaster struck again. This time in the form of a gas explosion on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th Street. The incident killed 2 people, injured several, and led to the collapse of 3 adjacent buildings which are next door to Jimmy's No. 43. Thankfully, Jimmy and his staff were evacuated as soon as the explosion occurred and emergency response was on the scene within minutes. Others weren't so lucky, residents lost their homes and businesses were destroyed including a local late night favorite of mine, Pomme Frites.

A view from the corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th Street after the adjacent buildings collapsed. Emergency workers beginning to clear debris. (photo by John Taggert)

A view from the corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th Street after the adjacent buildings collapsed. Emergency workers beginning to clear debris. (photo by John Taggert)

It is a tragedy that this took the young lives of Moises Ismael Locon Yac, 26 and Nicholas Figueroa, 23 and we should honor their memories by getting to the bottom of what triggered the explosion so that we can prevent something like this from happening in the future. Those injured and killed deserve justice. Meanwhile, Jimmy's No. 43 has not been open for more than a week, a real problem for any small business owner and a hardship on his well-trained, friendly staff. Jimmy understands that there is an ongoing investigation and he's not looking to exploit a tragedy for profit. He was recently on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show praising the effort of the local emergency and utility services and explaining the severity of the situation in the East Village. 

Another view of the devastation the day after the explosion. (Photo by Jimmy Carbone)

Another view of the devastation the day after the explosion. (Photo by Jimmy Carbone)

The entrance to Jimmy's No. 43 today at 5pm. (Photo by Jimmy Carbone)

The entrance to Jimmy's No. 43 today at 5pm. (Photo by Jimmy Carbone)

So what can we do to help? We can buy gift certificates to use in the future at Jimmy's No. 43 by clicking here. I think of it as giving Jimmy the opportunity to serve us great local beer and food in the near future. It's a method he used in the past to get through Hurricane Sandy and will be a huge help to get his small business back up and running. 

Also in the planning stages is a homebrew event that the local area clubs are quickly putting together through our collective charity arm Brewnity. Details on that event, the beneficiary, and the participants will be posted here as soon as the plans are solidified. I plan to donate a keg of homebrew for the event.

The NYC Mayor's Office has also set up a fund to help those displaced. Please consider donating here.

I'm crossing fingers that I will soon be toasting to Jimmy's health at 43 East 7th very soon and hope you can join me when they reopen for business.