Chelsea Piers on Manhattan's West Side plans to reopen Saturday, more than four weeks after Hurricane Sandy flooded its interior, and the large sports and entertainment complex is taking steps to protect itself against future storms. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
The owners of Chelsea Piers knew their sports and entertainment complex, located on 28 acres along the Hudson River, would not be unscathed by Hurricane Sandy. But the damage left was even more than they had imagined.
"Floors, soccer fields, desks, filing cabinets, computer systems all wiped out," said David Tewksbury, a managing partner of Chelsea Piers.
Five feet of water came rushing through popular spots like the Golf Center, Bowling Alley and the Lighthouse Banquet Hall, causing millions of dollars in damage.
Second-floor attractions like the Sky Rink were spared, but electrical systems were flooded, shutting down the entire complex while repairs were made.
Almost immediately after the storm, the effort to reopen was underway with contractors and Chelsea Piers staff.
"Wednesday, October 31, over 150 of our employees showed up with work boots on and work clothes and started removing everything," Tewksbury said. "And we worked like that pretty much every day for the first three weeks."
"We didn't have a whole lot of time to absorb it. It was just get here, take action, because we knew we needed to get open and open quickly for our customers," said Greta Wagner, a senior vice president of Chelsea Piers.
New bowling lanes are being installed and the Lighthouse is getting new floors. The basketball court at the field house also has a new floor and the golf driving range has been refurbished.
As for the long run, Tewksbury said some precautions were taken for any future storms like Sandy.
"As we put the electrical rooms back together, we've raised all of the equipment up off the floor by four or five feet, just as part of the reconstruction. We've used different materials in some areas," Tewksbury said.
The main focus now is on getting the place ready for reopening.
"We're ready, almost. We're getting there," Wagner said.
Chelsea Piers will celebrate reopening this weekend with free skating sessions at Sky Rink. For more information, visit ChelseaPiers.com.