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LES Water Main Break Floods Basements, Disrupts Traffic

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TWC News: LES Water Main Break Floods Basements, Disrupts Traffic
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Officials say water should be back on at some point Friday for those affected by a main break on Manhattan's Lower East Side, a rupture could not have come at a worse time for some business owners. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

First came the water, a messy, muddy stream rushing down Houston Street Thursday morning.

“Everything was soaked," said Tommy Chabrowski, the owner of the Lobster Joint. "The entire restaurant floor was soaked. I mean, more water than I've ever seen. “

And when the water subsided?

"I got to see the street fall in," Chabrowski said.

A big giant sinkhole was created right in front of famed Katz's Deli in the Lower East Side.
The culprit was a ruptured pipe.

"We have a break on a 20-inch main that's from 1959, so it's not as old as many of the other mains we had problems with from time to time," said Jim Roberts, deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

It sure caused a lot of problems for a handful of businesses that either lost water or had their basements flooded.

"It hit every store on this block, unfortunately, and the basements are just destroyed," said Jake Dell, the owners of Katz's Deli. "Our dumpsters are full outside. Countless damage."

Six feet of water rushed into the basement of Chabrowski's restaurant. He lost a lot of lobster, plus two walk-in refrigerators, ice machines, a computer system and more. This could not have come at a worse time.

"This is it. This is what we open for," Chabrowski said. "Memorial Day to Labor Day, it's just massive for us. It's pretty much what keeps us afloat for the year."

While multiple agencies work to get this stretch of Houston back to normal, residents said they are not looking forward to the repair work, and they're growing tired of all the construction.

"I don't remember it ever not happening, and I've lived just over there for 22 years," said one resident.

"It's not fun living in an area that looks like a war zone," said another.

"It's a nuisance," said a third. "It's always loud from 6 a.m. to midnight."

For now, the Lobster Joint is closed, their employees out of a job, but Tommy Chabrowski said they will definitely be back.

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