NEW YORK — Retail disruptions persisted on Madison Avenue Tuesday because of the explosion that leveled an Upper East Side town house.

Shops closest to the southeast corner of East 62nd Street — Church’s, Anne Fontaine, Georg Jensen, Lockes Diamonds and Ghurka — were without air-conditioning or many customers.

“We’re dying,” said Constantine Liagouris, general manager of the shoe emporium Church & Co. “It has definitely affected business. Today we lost 30 percent. The air-conditioning may take one month to repair. We’re talking about some emergency measures.”

Authorities are investigating whether the blast, which occurred at about 8:45 a.m. on Monday at 34 East 62nd Street, was a suicide attempt by a doctor who owns the building and was being forced to sell because of a divorce. The physician, Nicholas Bartha, was the only one in the town house and was rescued from the rubble. He was in critical condition at New York Hospital with severe burns. Four other civilians were injured and 10 firefighters sustained minor injuries.

“We’re open for business, but the five stores in this building don’t have air-conditioning,” said Cybele Kerutis, manager of leather goods retailer Ghurka, which was closed on Monday. “We’re trying to come up with a solution — maybe put up new condensers on the roof. There’s a lot of traffic on the street, but the people coming up here are not coming up to shop, they’re coming up to look.”

A sign in the window of Lockes Diamonds jewelers said the store will reopen later in the week.

Nelly Bryan, a sales associate at Georg Jensen, said, “We still haven’t cleaned up all the dirt and dust yet. It’s affecting our business.”

Hermès, which was closed on Monday, wasn’t affected, a spokeswoman said. There were a handful of customers on the main floor yesterday, including several men who were picking out ties. “We have a lot of international tourists,” the spokeswoman said.

Shoppers at Erwin Pearl jewelers were sparse Tuesday afternoon. “Most of the people outside are just looking at the mess,” said April Reay, a sales associate. A few regulars had come in. “When they need something, they’ll go through snowstorms and exploded buildings to get here,” she said.

This story first appeared in the July 12, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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