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Brown Water Stops Businesses From Serving Coffee and Making Bagels

By Heather Holland | October 4, 2013 4:04pm | Updated on October 4, 2013 4:21pm
 Discolored water has forced businesses on a Turtle Bay block to stop making bagel and serving coffee.
Brown Water in Midtown East
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MIDTOWN EAST — Cafes and bagel shops in Turtle Bay had to stop serving coffee and tea — and couldn't even make dough for bagels — after brown water began flowing out of their faucets Friday morning.

The businesses, on First Avenue and streets in the East 50s, discovered the murky water about 8 a.m. It was caused by construction work happening in the area and is safe to drink, according to a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, but restaurants owners said no one had told them that, so they stopped using the water just to be safe.

“We can’t sell any coffee products or tea products, and we can’t make dough for the bagels,” said Robert Weiner, owner of Tal Bagels. “The amazing thing is that no one has come around to tell us that the water was going to be like this. We don’t know what’s going on.”

The McDonald’s located on First Avenue between 53rd and 54th streets posted signs on their windows saying that they could not serve any coffee products or smoothies because of the water issues.

On the same block, Financier Patisserie coffee shop was forced to use bottled water to make their drinks because they couldn’t use the tap, workers said.

“Sometimes it comes out clear, sometimes it comes out dirty, so I just stay away from it,” said a worker at the coffee shop, who declined to give her name.

Lance Jacobs, a resident of an apartment building at 52nd Street and First Avenue, said he wasn't able to take showers all day and was only drinking bottled water.

"I do have something tomorrow where I have to be presentable, so I'm hoping it will be clear tomorrow," Jacobs said.

"I might shower," he added. "It's just kind of gross, but you just have to close your eyes and take a hot shower."

Nearby construction work altered the flow and pressure of some of the water mains, which is what created the discolored water, a DEP spokesman said.

In response to the issue, DEP workers opened some fire hydrants in the area to help flush out the discolored water, the spokesman said.

The DEP would not say how long it would take for the water to go back to normal.