INWOOD — Nearly a month after a fire ravaged a retail building and tore through 10 Inwood businesses, locals are hosting a fundraising event this weekend to show support for a community still reeling from the blaze.
The event at Piper's Kilt, which was planned within days of the fire, will be hosted at the pub where many businesses owners huddled outside while watching the three-alarm fire rip through their stores on Jan. 4.
Although the blaze, at the corner of what many call Inwood’s “Main Street,” devastated residents, many have rallied in support of the businesses as they pledge to rebuild.
“We’re here for the community,” Piper’s Kilt manager Mike Bowe said during a community meeting held days after the fire. “We’re going to host a great time.”
Lori Sommer, an Inwood resident of 15 years, organized the event with the owners of Piper's Kilt after feeling struck by the support pouring in from locals after the fire.
"I wanted everyone to see that we are not alone and that the community comes together," she said. "I wanted others to see that. I wanted people to see the love and how people take care of each other.
"The Kilt is a real community place, a gathering spot for neighborhood, a place to feel like home," Sommer added.
The event is scheduled to feature local singers, comedians and other performers.
Comedians Jim Mendrinos, Tom Ragu, Carole Montgomery, Mike Burton, Chris Griggs and Eric Vetter will also entertain, as well as musical acts and pub regulars Lonesome Tommy, Lowel Martin, and Seth and Jenny.
YouTube viral sensation and Inwood resident Jessica Latshaw will also perform her hit “Ain’t My Friend,” among other songs.
All proceeds will go toward the businesses affected by the fire, which includes Bread and Yoga studio, Dichter's Pharmacy, Burhan Hardware, Furry Friends, Splash Laundromat, a dentist office and a lawyer's office.
Organizers hope to "raise a few thousand dollars," Sommer said.
"I’m sure it happens in other places in the city, but there is this pride and people coming together in Inwood," she said of the event. "There are beautiful things that come from tragedy."
The fundraiser will take place between 1 and 4 p.m. at Piper’s Kilt, 4944 Broadway at West 207th Street. Admission is free, but cash or check donations are requested and can be made at the door. Checks can be made out to Inwood Community Services, Inc. with “207th St. Fire Disaster Business Relief Fund” written in the check memo.