In addition to damaging infrastructure and devastating neighborhoods, Hurricane Sandy caused the loss of 30,000 jobs in and around New York City, according to the NY Times and the New York State Department of Labor. These jobs were mostly in the hospitality and food service industries.
Restaurant closings were widespread in affected areas such as Alphabet City, the Financial District, Red Hook, and The Rockaways, among other hard-hit neighborhoods.
FoodtoEat saw the devastation firsthand as we planned two Hurricane Sandy Restaurant Relief Food Crawls, the first of which occurred on November 17 and the second on December 8. We spoke to restaurant owners who felt so dejected by the storm and were grateful to be getting people back in their doors. Restaurant owners lost thousands in inventory and business during their forced closures. Upon reopening, many were cash only since (now 66 days later!) phone lines and internet had yet to be restored. These restaurants, such as Cafecito however, are some of the luckier ones. Many vendors on Avenue C (such as the C-Town supermarket) in the East Village were so damaged that they have remained closed since the storm.
In downtown neighborhoods such as the Financial District, many corporate offices were forced to relocate. Because of that, nearby restaurants, caterers and corporate cafeterias have been without business. With few customers and few open restaurants, the area has become a food desert.
Because FoodtoEat understands the hardships of restaurant owners, especially after a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, we’ve waived our usual 10 cent/order fee for affected restaurants for six months. We will remain active in Sandy relief efforts and continue to play a role in helping victims as much as possible. Despite many parts of NY recovering, it will be a long time before neighborhoods are rebuilt and storm victims, whether they be restaurant owners, displaced families, or displaced companies return to normalcy.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com