EAST VILLAGE - It was his taste for adventure and his enthusiasm to try new things that brought Nicholas Figueroa to Sushi Park on Second Avenue the day a building exploded in the East Village, his mother said Monday night at a memorial in his honor.
"(He) was trying some octopus or something like that," his mother Anna Figueroa said.
"He was daring. He wanted to do everything and experience everything. Nicholas was a sunshine. He was a loving and caring kid, 23, very active, very involved, wanted to live to the fullest."
Her son was one of two men killed when a gas explosion on March 26 leveled three buildings, injured 22 people and displaced 130 others, officials said.
Figueroa’s body was found in the rubble on Sunday along with the that of Moises Lucon, a 26-year-old worker at Sushi Park, sources said.
Figueroa’s mother was among hundreds of people who gathered a few feet away from the explosion site on Monday evening for a candlelight vigil for both victims.
“We’re here on the behalf of my brother and the other man who has passed," said Neil Figueroa, Figueroa’s brother.
"He didn’t have too much family but we’re here to represent him as well,” he said of Lucon.
“We just want justice,” Neil Figueroa later said. “Someone has to be held accountable for this.”
Friends and family prayed, lit candles and sent white balloons into the sky as they stood on the corner of St Marks Place and Second Avenue.
A few mourners came with white roses and large photos of Figueroa, who was originally from Puerto Rico and lived in East Harlem. Two men held a large blue banner that read "RIP Nicholas, forever loved."
“We want to thank everyone here for all the troubles and all the fight you’ve been through to bring my brother home,” Figueroa’s brother said during the vigil.
“He was in one piece, he was smiling, he looked so happy,” he said, before asking the mourners to give a round of applause for the construction workers who had stopped digging through the debris and had gathered near the vigil.
Figueroa’s mother said her son, a former Eagle Scout, wanted to become a police officer or a firefighter.
Friends and relatives were still trying to make sense of the explosion on Monday evening.
"This shouldn't have happened in the first place," said Sonia Mediadilla, 49, who had known Figueroa since he was a kid and attended the vigil with her husband and her son. "We're all very sad. It's very hard," she said.