New York Restaurants Making Changes Post-Hurricane Sandy
The New York Times reports that plenty of restaurants are reconsidering their infrastructure
As New York and surrounding areas slowly get back to normal, The New York Times reports that restaurants are still recuperating after Hurricane Sandy took as much as $600,000 from some restaurants.
And while the lights are back on downtown, restaurateurs are rethinking and rebuilding their restaurants with storms in mind; owners are rethinking traditions of building kitchens and refrigerators in the basement, and many are considering backup power and communication systems.
A Park Slope, Brooklyn, restaurant, Bogota Latin Bistro, is looking to install sump pumps and reinforce walls, while other owners are also thinking of using waterproof materials and finding ways to drain and pump out water.
Hot shot restaurateur Danny Meyer is even rethinking his (very intricate) system, first prioritizing a stormproof communication system, The Times says. "In the future you can’t have me running the company from the bathroom of a gym on one cellphone, relying on a cell tower," Meyer said, which is exactly what he did during Hurricane Sandy.
Operation Blessing Int’l, IsraAID Helping Beleaguered Breezy Point Storm Victims
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The cleanup from Hurricane Sandy is overwhelming in some communities and it couldn’t be done without legions of volunteers.
A shell-shocked Barbara Joyce stood by Wednesday as volunteers hauled out nearly everything she owns.
“I could just cry. I could just cry my heart out, but I’m trying to stay strong,” Joyce told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
The 77-year-old resident said she has lived in Breezy Point since 1940.
“The whole city of Breezy is gone,” Joyce said.
Just a few blocks away is what is left of the storm-driven fire that claimed more than 100 homes.
Breezy Point is the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula. At Joyce’s home, the work is being done by volunteers with Operation Blessing International.
“We focus on the uninsured, the elderly, the single moms, the families with young children, the handicapped,” OBI’s Jody Gettys said.
“They actually are a blessing to me…I don’t know what I’d do without them,” Joyce said.
Similar praise was being lavished on another faith-based volunteer group by 74-year-old Neil Devor.
“My basement has been destroyed — my heater, my electrical panels, all the insulation,” Devor said.
Helping him clean out were five volunteers from Israel’s IsraAID.
“If we don’t help Neil today, there’s no one else helping him. So, there’s a need,” volunteer Nathan Lyons said.
Devor, a retired assistant police chief, said he plans to rebuild. Barbara Joyce, though, said she couldn’t decide.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t even think about it,” she said.
Many people in Breezy Point, some of whom have lived in the area for generations, have hard decisions to make.
Operation Blessing International, based in Virginia, says it seeks to ” demonstrate God&rsquos love by alleviating need and suffering through international relief aid.”
The organization has brought more than 240,000 pounds of food, water and paper goods for storm victims in Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below…
New York's outgoing climate tsar hopes Biden can help save city from sea rise
Following an eight-year tenure as New York City’s climate tsar, a tumultuous period when the city faced Superstorm Sandy and charged headlong into a legal battle with fossil fuel companies, Daniel Zarrilli is departing his position.
A long-term city employee and ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Zarrilli said it was the “right time to move on and hand over the reins” by resigning as New York City’s top climate adviser and moving on to an unspecified role that will also work on the climate crisis.
Zarrilli said a departing hope was that Joe Biden’s administration would kickstart efforts to help New York City stave off the growing menace of sea level rise and fierce storms.
An ambitious, $119bn plan to protect the largest US city from flooding via a series of manmade islands with retractable gates that would erect a six-mile wall to halt surging stormwater was scrapped as an option by the federal government last year after Donald Trump called it “foolish” and advised New Yorkers to get “mops and buckets ready”.
NYC never wavered in its commitment to the #ParisAgreement. We're divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy, resilient infrastructure, and environmental justice. It's time to end the age of fossil fuels.https://t.co/Pr4agvy5yz&mdash Daniel A. Zarrilli (@dzarrilli) February 19, 2021
“That longer-term study was canceled but we are seeing more partnership with the federal government again,” Zarrilli said. “We’re hopeful the infrastructure bill will be a major climate bill that will be to the benefit of New York and cities around the world. It’s been a remarkable whiplash we were fighting off the federal government for four years due to its reckless leadership. We will now see more flood defenses in the city – we are already under way with that.”
Zarrilli, an engineer by training who lives on Staten Island, has grappled with a stampede of climate issues since he was appointed by the then mayor Michael Bloomberg in the wake of Sandy, which plunged parts of New York City into darkness and devastated homes in low-lying parts of the city. A long-term strategy to make the city more resilient to the ravages of global heating was drawn up, along with a new effort to confront environmental injustices that see low-income people of color disproportionately suffer from the onset of heatwaves and flooding.
Burned houses are seen next to those which survived in Breezy Point, a neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Queens, after they were devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters
New York City also aligned itself with the goals of the Paris climate agreement after Trump pulled the US out of the accords. Most recently the city banned the installation of gas appliances in new buildings as part of its goal to slash planet-heating emissions by 40% within the next decade.
De Blasio said that Zarrilli had been “an invaluable member of my team” throughout this work. “We have charted a course to more sustainable and more resilient future and New York City is better off for his service,” the mayor added.
Latterly, New York City has sought to use wield its influence to directly fight the fossil fuel companies responsible for the climate crisis. A lawsuit suing large oil and gas companies for their role in the crisis ultimately ran aground but the city has since divested its pension funds of billions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuel stock and has sought to boost its investments in renewable energy.
“Dan did remarkable work helping coordinate efforts to get New York to divest its pension funds, and then to take that idea and help spread it to other cities,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of the climate group 350.org. “It’s been a really important part of the global climate fight in recent years.”
This city has faced some criticism that it should have gone further, particularly regarding the use of cars. De Blasio previously dismissed the idea of a congestion charge for drivers to help reduce traffic and emissions, despite research showing it would help cut both, and was initially reluctant to make permanent the closure of certain streets to cars during the pandemic, a development that has allowed on-street dining and walking to flourish.
Zarrilli conceded there was “definitely more to be done so New Yorkers don’t need cars in the future” but said further change was inevitable if the city, among others, was to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
“We are in much better shape than we were after Sandy but we have to say no to fossil fuels in all their forms across society,” he said. “We are very aware of our vulnerabilities to flooding and to heat, but there are opportunities in reimagining a clean energy future too.
“Other cities look to New York City as a leader – being the media and cultural capital of the world gives us a wide audience. The stakes are always high here. After 17 years with the city, it’s been an amazing run.”
Feds Pick Winners Of Post-Sandy Storm Protection Design Contest
LITTLE FERRY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Federal officials say they’ll fund a series of designs to protect the New York and New Jersey region from storms like Sandy.
Along with Mayor De Blasio, Governor Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced $335-million of HUD funding for a 16 1/2-ft tall berm in a park like setting that would protect the low lying, flood prone area from East 23rd Street down to Houston Street on the Lower East Side.
The move will be the first step in a larger multi-billion dollar project called ‘The Big U’ which would ultimately provide a protective barrier around Manhattan from Midtown East all the way around to Midtown West.
That project will create an 8-mile system of dykes around low-lying parts of Manhattan.
“We are working to ensure that we fight against flood waters before they happen, with real protection for the people of the East Side of Manhattan,” Mayor De Blasio said.
Another protects a key food market — Hunts Point — in the Bronx, while a third helps drain stretches of Long Island.
Another project will construct oyster-bed breakwaters for Tottenville, Staten Island.
Artificial islands will also be created along the New York and New Jersey coast to blunt the force of storm surges.
The projects will cost more than $500 million.
Donovan announced the winners Monday in separate news conferences in Manhattan and Little Ferry.
“Implementing these proposals is morally the right thing to do because they will save lives,” Donovan said. “But it also makes economic sense because for every dollar that we spend today on hazard mitigation, we save at least $4 the next time disaster strikes.”
Following the severe flooding and damage that took place during Sandy, New York City’s resilience to severe weather was called into question, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
“We have an obligation to make sure that this never happens again,” Donovan said.
The winning projects were chosen from a pool of finalists as a part of the “Rebuild by Design” competition created by President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.
In New Jersey, one of the winning designs will add a pumping system, levees and green space to prevent water from flowing into Hoboken.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who accused the Christie administration of withholding Sandy relief money to strong-arm her into approving a development project, sat in the front row for the announcement but did not speak to Gov. Chris Christie, who spoke at the event.
“He’s going to do this job, and I’m going to do mine,” she told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “Our administrations are going to need to work together and get this done.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announce winners of the “Rebuild By Design” competition June 2, 2014, in Little Ferry, N.J. (Credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)
“I think it’s a great proposal. I think that we really have a great proposal that can be a model for urban resiliency.”
Another winning design adds more wetlands and berms to the Meadowlands to prevent flooding in Bergen County.
You can learn more about the winning entries here.
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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
‘No fundamental change’
New York’s anti-flooding bulkheads have been strengthened, the subway system has a new mechanism to prevent inundation and new safeguards are in place to ensure the city’s lights stay on and the running water remains clean. Streets have been raised in some places and Rockaway’s five-mile boardwalk, left warped and crumpled by Sandy, has reopened.
A rezoning process has altered rules for buildings in vulnerable areas, such as the southern edge of Brooklyn, the east side of Staten Island and the East Village area of Manhattan. But no areas have been completely barred from development and hard decisions over the viability of increasingly soggy parts of the city have been largely deferred.
“If Sandy happened again this year I think New York would be operationally better prepared, people would follow evacuation orders better,” said Jacob.
“But the water would still go in the same places, streets and houses would be flooded, there would be havoc in the Rockaways and Coney Island. It’s still the same set up. There’s been fiddling around the margins but no fundamental change.”
The biggest lurch from the status quo has occurred in Staten Island, where residents in the low-lying east shore neighborhoods of Oakwood Beach, Graham Beach and Ocean Breeze have been offered money to sell up and leave. The $200m relocation, overseen by New York State, has seen 495 out of 659 eligible households take the voluntary buy-outs.
The area was ravaged by Sandy and several people perished. A lesser blow was struck a year before by Hurricane Irene. Still, Joe Tirone, a local real estate broker, said it was a surprise when he asked who was interested in buy-outs at a community meeting and was faced with a forest of raised hands. “Irene put these people back on their heels and Sandy was the knockout punch,” he said. “Sandy hit and it was like ‘boom, we are out.’”
The east shore of Staten Island is marshy land and most residents – many of them police and fire fighters – have multi-generational roots in the area. But the community-led effort to get buy-outs came after it dawned on householders that climate change would eventually outpace them. “I drove around after the storm, houses were gone and it was just swamp,” said Tirone, who advocated on behalf of the community. “The city was still issuing building permits and I just thought ‘how did these houses ever get built?’”
Jan Nuzzo, now a 37-year-old medical assistant, was recuperating at her Oakwood Beach house in Staten Island following the cesarean section delivery of her son, who arrived a month before Sandy struck. For five hours her house filled with water, forcing her to clamber atop furniture with her infant son and dog. At one point she had to change his diaper while lying him on a sofa that had just floated past. “I was waiting to either die or be rescued,” said Nuzzo.
The national guard reached Nuzzo at 2am and from that moment she vowed never to return. She got a buy-out, moving elsewhere in the borough, and now a vacant lot stands where her house once did.
Large chunks of the eastern part of Staten Island has been effectively handed back to nature - tall reeds sprout from empty plots of land, deer roam and opossums scurry around the houses that remain. A surge in turkey numbers prompted a cull.
“We all know the water is rising now,” Nuzzo said. “People absolutely should not have lived in the area we were. It’s a marsh. Everyone loves an ocean view, but it shouldn’t cost you your life. We just wanted to get out and get on with our lives.”
A closer look at Texas lawmakers asking for Harvey aid after opposing Sandy relief
As Hurricane Harvey neared Texas on Friday — before it wreaked havoc on the state's eastern shore and inland — two of Texas's top Washington lawmakers, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for a major disaster declaration.
"Given the potential catastrophic impact that the hurricane may have on Texas communities, we strongly support this request (from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott) and urge you to provide any and all emergency protective measures available," the senators wrote.
Such emergency measures include federal funding to help with rescue efforts and clean up — the exact same kind of crucial emergency relief package for New Jersey and New York following Hurricane Sandy both men voted against in 2012.
But, as some have argued, it's not as simple as that. So here's a closer look at the key players and the key issues from Sandy.
What was the scene in 2012 and 2013?
In early 2013, only months after Sandy devastated New Jersey and the surrounding region, Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at Republicans in the House of Representatives for putting off a vote on a $60.4 billion package to finance the region's recovery.
"For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch," Christie said in a fiery news conference.
He lashed out at the GOP leadership's "callous indifference."
Christie complained that New Jersey and New York taxpayers contribute more than their fair share to the federal government and that the states’ congressional delegations have always been generous when it came to other states recovering from natural disasters.
The aid package was ultimately voted on and approved. But not everyone in the Republican Party supported the recovery.
Long Beach Island residents survey damage to their property for the firs time after Hurricane Sandy destroyed their homes. An aerial photo of the Casino Pier in Seaside heights. Long Beach Island, NJ 11/9/12 (Noah K. Murray /The Star Ledger)
What were the controversial bills they voted on?
There were two bills that provided federal emergency relief for the state and region in the aftermath of Sandy.
Christie lashed out against GOP lawmakers over the $40 billion package. But prior to that, there was a $9.7 billion increase in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ability to borrow for the National Flood Insurance Program.
The first package passed 354-67 in the House and by voice vote in the Senate.
A woman kayaks down a flooded section of FM 518 near the intersection with Interstate 45 in League City, Texas, on Sunday. (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)
Who voted against among the Texas delegation?
The initial package to increase flood insurance passed the Senate without a roll call. Within the House of Representatives, eight Texas GOP lawmakers voted against the $9.7 billion increase:
With the exception of Neugebauer, all of the other seven Republicans are still members of Congress.
In this Saturday photo, Layton Carpenter walks down an empty driveway in Bayside, Texas, holding a broken American flag that he found in the water after Hurricane Harvey hit Bayside, Texas. (Olivia Vanni/The Victoria Advocate via AP)
Did any Texas Republicans support N.J. aide package?
Yes, Rep. John Culberson voted to approve the package.
Culberson represents Texas's 7th Congressional District, which includes areas of western Houston, one of the cities hit hardest by Harvey.
Long Beach Island residents survey damage to their property for the firs time after Hurricane Sandy destroyed their homes. An aerial photo of the Casino Pier in Seaside heights. (Noah K. Murray /The Star Ledger)
What was in the $60.4 billion emergency relief package?
The package included $11.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's chief disaster relief fund and $17 billion for Community Development Block Grants, much of which would help homeowners repair or replace their homes.
Another $11.7 billion would help repair New York City's subways and other mass transit damage and protect them from future storms. Some $9.7 billion would go toward the government's flood insurance program. The Army Corps of Engineers would receive $5.3 billion to mitigate flood future risks and rebuild damaged projects.
Most of the money in the $60.4 billion bill — $47.4 billion — was for immediate help for victims and other recovery and rebuilding efforts. The aid was intended to help states rebuild public infrastructure like roads and tunnels and help thousands of people displaced from their homes.
What they said then about relief aid
Cruz and Cornyn were among 36 Republicans who voted against the January 2013 supplemental disaster aid bill.
“Hurricane Sandy inflicted devastating damage on the East Coast, and Congress appropriately responded with hurricane relief. Unfortunately, cynical politicians in Washington could not resist loading up this relief bill with billions in new spending utterly unrelated to Sandy,” Cruz said in a January 2013 statement. “Emergency relief for the families who are suffering from this natural disaster should not be used as a Christmas tree for billions in unrelated spending, including projects such as Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start.”
Cruz called it a spending package "chock-full of pork."
Cornyn took a like-minded position.
Cornyn spokesman Drew Brandewie tweeted Friday that the senator voted against the final bill at the time because it included "extraneous $ for non-relief items."
New York, post-Sandy: In luck if you have a wood-fired oven
New York City residents began emerging from their apartments on Tuesday to explore Hurricane Sandy’s damage, but soon enough, it was time for lunch. And while uptowners easily got tables at their favorite neighborhood restaurants, for downtowners, because of the widespread power outage (which may not be restored anytime very soon), there was nowhere to eat — well, almost nowhere.
As a river of water flooded the streets just an avenue away on the West Side, Barrio 47 co-owner Alex Volland reopened Tuesday at 11 a.m. with a sign out front advertising “suckling pig.” His closure on Sunday had forced him to cancel the restaurant’s “Feast for the Senses,” for which he had purchased a 25-pound pig. And though his power went out on Monday around 8 p.m., his walk-in was still a frosty 30 degrees 20 hours later due to another lucky holdover: a giant cube of dry ice intended to create a spooky bar effect for Barrio 47’s Halloween festivities. Add to the mix its wood-fired brick oven and a large supply of candles, and they were ready to go.
“There were so many people in the street hunting for drinks and food, and by 11:30 we were packed,” says Volland, who worked the bar (his first time as a bartender) while his brother helped manage the floor. “We served like 200 to 300 covers” — twice as many as on a typical night (the 55-seat Barrio 47 is usually only open for dinner service). By 9 p.m., they had sold out of everything.
Since then, they’ve remained open by buying food at the local market and serving only three dishes: chicken with truffle mashed potatoes, ribeye and pasta with roasted tomatoes/shaved truffle.
Forcella owner and pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani also relied on his wood-fired ovens to get back in business in the hurricane’s aftermath, as a number of local pizzerias did, including Pulino’s on Houston/Bowery, Pizza Roma on Bleecker Street and Motorino in the East Village. Plus, says Adriani, “We serve pizza, and flour doesn’t spoil.”
On Tuesday, he and one of his busboys manned a full-house throughout the day at his outpost in Williamsburg, until they closed around 11 p.m. and sold nearly 250 pies. A few hours later, around 2 a.m., he headed into the city to salvage what he could from the freezers at the Forcella on Bowery, shuttled them back to Williamsburg for storage, and then, once again, made the trek into downtown later that morning around 10:30 a.m. He arrived in the city at 3 p.m. “Usually, it takes five minutes,” Adriani says. “It was something like I’ve never seen in my life, there was so much traffic, it was unbelievable.”
Within an hour of arrival downtown, they were up and running, serving a limited pizza menu.
“I never felt like part of America I’m Italian,” says Adriani, who moved to the city in 2010. “But this is the first time I felt like a New Yorker, because opening the restaurant like this with candles, you don’t do it for money, because you lose money. I saw these policemen on every corner, making a terrible shift in the cold. We’re going to bring pizza to every policeman on the corner. The policeman are there to help people. You help each other…. It gave me the spirit of being a New Yorker.”
And what has Adriani been eating? “Last night, I ate a lot of gelato I saved from the freezer,” he says. “One box is 1 kilo, like 2 pounds, so for sure I ate 1 pound of chocolate ice cream, because I like it when it’s melted.”
The fine-dining staple in Charleston is permanently closing its doors due to the pandemic. The president of NDG restaurant group that owned McCrady's said the "tasting-menu-only setup with few seats in an intimate setting" will no longer be viable in a new post-corona environment when seating restrictions would further bring down the number of diners. Famed chef Sean Brock put McCrady's on the map with the use of molecular gastronomy in the kitchen, before his departure from the restaurant group in 2018.
Eleven Madison Park will reopen with 100% vegan menu
NEW YORK -- One of Eleven Madison Park's most iconic dishes has been whole roasted duck with daikon and plum -- it's a classic of the restaurant, and one its most long-standing offerings. But when the restaurant reopens next month after more than a year, that dish, and many others it has become known for, will no longer be available.
The three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant will be going completely plant-based when it reopens next month, it announced Monday -- becoming one of the most high-profile restaurants to do so.
"I'm excited to share that we've made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products -- every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more," chef and owner Daniel Humm wrote in a statement on the restaurant's website.
The move reflects a growing trend in the food industry, as more and more institutions transition toward more sustainable ingredients and food practices. Epicurious, a well-known online food publication, announced just last week it would no longer publish new recipes that include beef, saying beef's production creates large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and thus impacts climate change.
As more plant-based options have popped up on menus across the country, gone are the days when vegetarianism or veganism were fringe diets. Humm has previously said he believes the future of restaurants is vegan.
In an interview with NPR's "How I Built This," Humm said the way people eat meat is "not sustainable," similar to the reasons Epicurious gave.
And though in his statement, Humm said he recognizes the risk of making such a move, he also said he believes it's worth it.
"It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose and maintains a genuine connection to the community," he wrote on the restaurant's website. "A restaurant experience is about more than what's on the plate. We are thrilled to share the incredible possibilities of plant-based cuisine while deepening our connection to our homes: both our city and our planet."
Arguably the restaurant that turned the Asbury dining scene around, Porta now serves hundreds of Neapolitan pies daily. The rest of the menu fills out with pasta, meatballs, and other Italian classics. Toward the end of the evening, the massive space becomes a nightclub.
It’s all about the thin-crust pizza at this pie institution open since 1961. Diners wait . and wait . at this no-frills spot, but it pays off in the form of crispy, charred, cracker-like crust and a balanced cheese-tomato topping. Make sure to order a size up, and try one with cherry peppers.