The Old South Street Seaport, as it's known, is filled with mom and pop shops, and it was the area of Manhattan most devastated during Hurricane Sandy, but through banding together, the businesses in the area are making a comeback. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
There's been a lot of celebrating along Front and South Streets recently, and with good reason. Nearly a full year after Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters surged through the South Street Seaport, the area's locally owned small businesses are finally coming back.
"Everyone's welcoming us back with open arms," said Sandy Tedesco, co-owner of Bin 220 and Keg 229. "It's been really fantastic."
After months of red tape and rebuilding, most of these businesses have reopened in the past couple of weeks, such as Barbalu restaurant. They're in a smaller space for now while crews still work to repair their larger restaurant, but the owners are just happy to be open at all.
"It's been such a long and interesting year that just getting the small part ready is very exciting, to see a lot of people coming back," said Adriana Luque, owner of Barbalu.
Reopening is only the first step for Bin 220 and Keg 229 owners Tedesco and Calli Lerner. Now, the challenge is to make sure their customers come back.
"'Cause for a whole year, this has been a ghost town," Lerner said. "The entire block has been, barring a couple of places, been shut down, and now, the challenge for us and everybody is to let people know we're back."
That's something that businesses in the area continue to work on together through their Old Seaport Alliance.
"We've got this great historic neighborhood on the waterfront in New York City," said Marco Pasanella, president of the Old Seaport Alliance. "It seems like there's a lot of potential here."
Still, not every shop is open. Many, like the Bridge Cafe, still have locks on their doors. Another concern for some area businesses is the closure and redevelopment of Pier 17, which brought tourists to the area. Also, for now, pop-up shops have replaced some damaged buildings, and there's always the question of what might happen in the event of another storm.
But despite the lingering challenges, Tedesco is confident in the neighborhood's ability to bounce back.
"The energy is incredible," he said. "People are excited. People are waiting for everyone to come back. With all the new construction going on, it's just, this neighborhood's going to explode."
With an attitude like that, it's almost a sure thing.