EAST VILLAGE — An East Village restaurant owner was being mourned Thursday after being found dead following an apparent fall from an apartment balcony.
Neighbors and employees of her restaurant, Arcane, confirmed the woman's identity as Christine Ebel, 52, who operated the French Caribbean eatery with her brother at 111 Ave. C.
She fell on Wednesday afternoon.
Cops said they are still investigating the death. Her body was found in a construction site at 227 E. 7th St., next to a friend's home, where she apparently fell.
The NYPD is considering alcohol as a possible cause of the accident, although friends said Ebel never drank.
"She was always really friendly with everyone," said Jack Turan, an East Village resident who was employed occasionally as a handyman by Ebel at her restaurant and her apartment, which Turan said was located directly above Arcane.
"She always had a smile on her face."
Turan last saw Ebel Monday when he fixed a drain in Arcane's basement. Her red push bike, he noted, was still chained to the front of the restaurant.
A fellow Avenue C restaurant owner, Edi Frauneder from Edi and the Wolf at 102 Ave. C, said Ebel was a hard worker.
"She was always there [at Arcane], always working," said Frauneder, who is also the chef at Edi and the Wolf, "humming along to the pace of Avenue C."
He described her restaurant as "solid French Caribbean cuisine" and Ebel's personality as "classic European — calm and not loud."
"This is wild, super wild," Frauneder said of the death.
Another employee of a neighboring restaurant, who declined to give his name, said Ebel's sudden death had shocked the area's tight-knit community of eateries.
"They would eat at each other’s places [restaurants], give each other drinks," he said.
"People that work here are friends, we are like family," he said.
"This hit home and it hit hard."