The South Street Seaport, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, has come a long way since the storm, and business owners and residents celebrated a post-storm comeback Saturday. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
After nearly a year of rebuilding, recovery and just plain heartbreak, business owners and residents of South Street Seaport are celebrating a post-Hurricane Sandy comeback.
"It's been a long year, and we're really excited to have almost everybody back now," said Marco Pasanella, a business owner and organizer.
Resident Luca Pasanella: It was like a ghost town. There was nobody here.
Q: Now it looks different?
Luca Pasanella: A lot better.
A grand opening event held Saturday. featured live music, performances and carnival games. It was organized by the Old Seaport Alliance, a nonprofit merchant's association founded after the hurricane. The alliance is made up of a handful of businesses located within a nine-block area that organizers say was hit especially hard.
"No one had flood insurance, as far as I know," said Amanda Zink, a business owner and organizer. "We pretty much lost everything on that day, October 29, 2012."
Zink shared with NY1 video she took that day while standing on South Street, near the intersection of John Street. She said that watching the floodwaters still gives her goosebumps.
"It's hard to watch, because it's not a movie. It was real," she said.
"Utter devastation, in two words," said Paul Morgan, co-owner of Nelson Blue. "I just couldn't believe it, the power of water."
Some businesses, like Nelson Blue on Front Street, have a bit more ways to go, but many other establishments, like the Paris Cafe, reopened their doors this week.
"It's a lot of meeting old friends that we haven't seen for a year, so it's a reunion," said Peter O'Connell, co-owner of the Paris Cafe.
O'Connell said that the restaurant, which has been around since 1873, has a lot of history.
"Thomas Edison was supposed to have drank here," O'Connell said. "Teddy Roosevelt, Errol Flynn, Lauren Bacall."
It's that history, along with the cobblestone streets and friendly faces, that makes the neighborhood so special.
To learn more about the historic neighborhood, or to find out about the next big event, visit the alliance's website at oldseaportny.com.