BY BEN BRACHFELD
The torrential downpour
that submerged large swaths
of New York City on Sept. 1 has
left small businesses, already
reeling from the coronavirus
pandemic, in a state of fl ux.
At least 13 New Yorkers lost
their lives in the storm, which
shattered rainfall records and
sent the city into chaos — with
parked cars fl oating down
streets, most subway lines
halted, and countless homes
Local leaders took drastic
action, as both Mayor Bill de
Blasio and Gov. Kathy Hochul
issued a state of emergency
for their jurisdictions, and
city authorities implemented
a non-essential travel ban.
Meanwhile, hundreds of straphangers
were stuck aboard
stalled trains as fi rst responders
worked to get people out of
the underground tunnels.
A remnant of Hurricane
Ida, which made landfall in
Louisiana earlier last week,
the storm’s intensity was unanticipated,
Hurricane Henri had a far
more muted impact on the city
last week than was expected.
Gov. Hochul said in Queens
on Thursday morning that she
had spoken with President
Joe Biden, who noted the feds
would offer any assistance
needed by the city and state.
Randy Peers, the president
of the Brooklyn Chamber of
Commerce, said that the business
had dispatched “business recovery
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teams” to neighborhoods
like Red Hook, Carroll
Crown Heights, Bushwick, Coney
Island, and Sheepshead
Bay — and that more teams
would be deployed to other areas.
With so many businesses
facing devastating fl ooding,
the city could potentially be
looking at billions of dollars
in damages, he said.
Frank Morales, who owns
F&M Bagels on Van Brunt
Street in Red Hook, said that
his entire basement was underwater,
including a brand
new boiler that he’d installed
about six months ago.
“I just put in a brand new
boiler in not even six months
ago,” Morales said. “Everything’s
Morales says replacing the
boiler could put him out between
$15-20,000. On top of that,
he also needs to get his basement
pumped, and any damage
left in the water’s wake.
“It’s just a mess,” he said.
Connie Choi, who owns
the Korean restaurant Gentle
Perch in East Williamsburg,
said that she is assessing the
damage to her establishment,
which experienced fl ooding,
likely from the city’s sewage
line. She’s still cleaning up the
mess, but a distinct possibility
could be much of her inventory
“We had to turn off our
walk-in cooler, because of
electrical hazards. And our
freezer,” said Choi, who estimated
Gentle Perch in East Williamsburg was one of many Brooklyn businesses
damaged by heavy fl ooding during the storm on Sept. 1. Connie Choi
she could be out thousands
of dollars from the
storm. “Thankfully, a lot of
our dry storage is ok, our restaurant
fl oor is ok.”
Businesses already reeling
from the devastation of the
coronavirus pandemic could
be pushed over the edge by the
storm. Peers urged the government
to move expeditiously to
support affected small businesses.
“While it’s still too early to
appreciate Hurricane Ida’s full
impacts, small businesses that
were damaged or fl ooded from
the storm are sure to wonder
if their misery will ever end,”
Peers said. “Between Covid-19,
business shutdowns, the
Delta variant, worker shortages,
and now Ida’s unprecedented
rainfall — how much
more can small businesses
take without throwing in the
towel? For many hanging on
by the tips of their fi ngers, any
damage sustained may be the
straw that breaks the camel’s
back. All levels of government
need to respond with immediate
support if we are to save
our beloved neighborhood establishments.”
If you’re a Brooklyn business
owner affected by the storm, we
would love to hear from you.
Email Ben Brachfeld at bbrachfeld@
Brooklyn’s small businesses
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