Holiday Income Wiped Out For Businesses Shuttered By Sandy
Updated: 12/11/2012 03:29 PM
By: Kristen Shaughnessy
The holiday season is make or break time for many of the city's restaurants, when tourists and private parties add lots of green to their bottom lines, but this year, Sandy has left many of those businesses shuttered. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy has the story.
The timing could not have been worse. Hurricane Sandy struck just weeks before the busiest time of year for the famed River Cafe on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Now it is shut down for the holidays. Millions of dollars in business over Thanksgiving and Christmas -- gone.
"We were booked," River Cafe owner Buzzy O'Keefe said. "I had to return a fortune in deposits to people whose parties we couldn't do."
The damage was so bad even the walls had to be taken down. Add in millions in lost food and wine and no money coming in -- it was a business owner's nightmare.
"Every year for us was a new record and we were doing great and the storm just wiped everything out," O'Keefe said. "Everybody is kind of shocked I'm not more upset. I mean I'm upset with my employees. How do we take care of them? The law doesn't even allow us to take care of them."
The Water Club, the River Cafe's sister property farther up the East River and dozens of other waterfront properties were also hit hard by Sandy. Like O'Keefe, other business owners have been forced to fire employees and either cancel or scale back holiday parties and events.
"The problem we are having now is restaurants are either closing, trying to stay open or just surviving," said Paul Hurley, president of the United Restaurant Tavern Owners of New York City.
The federal government just extended the FEMA filing deadline to Jan. 28 for those who need assistance.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling for a further extension to May 1.
She says with all business and home owners have to deal with, extending the deadline is the least the government can do.
Back to list