Tony's Pier was burned to the ground in a fire during Hurricane Sandy, but its owners say the restaurant is on track to reopen in July. Bronx Reporter Erin Clarke filed the following report.
When fire engulfed Tony's Pier during Hurricane Sandy, the children of the late Tony Palumbo, who put his blood, sweat and tears into the restaurant, made a vow not to let it go under. Six months later, Tony's Pier is on track to reopen in July.
"It's very exciting for us. We're thrilled," owner Cheryl Weiner said. "The tears are gone and just tears of joy now."
Getting to this point wasn't easy. The family has had to finance most of the $2 million cost to rebuild themselves.
Cheryl's brother Anthony Palumbo literally lives on site and has been there all day, every day, since the storm.
"I've been digging, digging and putting out, putting out and I have to be here," Palumbo said. "I have to go daily, going back and forth with the architects going back and forth to the insurance adjuster, to the accountant to the rest of these places that are putting in bids for us."
A never ending slew of tasks that they say they wouldn't have been able to get through if it wasn't for the community.
Help came pouring in from the city and state while embers were still burning in the rubble.
"The first place I came to was City Island because I heard about the fire here the night before," state Sen. Jeff Klein said. "I met with the Weiner family and told them whatever they needed to get up and running as quickly as possible, they should contact me."
"Things that normally take months to resolve - pulling in permits, each side discussing what their parameters were -- it's been taking hours," Bronx Overall Economic Development President Marlene Cintron said.
All that has brought them far along to reopening -- concrete is poured and construction has begun.
The new Tony's will be even better and more equipped to handle a big storm, starting with it being built on columns about five feet higher than the old restaurant was.
That's part of a new requirement that structures in flood prone areas be rebuilt elevated.
"They'll be safe and secure in the event of a future storm," Klein said.
They plan to continue creating memories for families for many years to come.