Thirty Thousand Jobs Lost Due to Hurricane Sandy

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.

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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

 

New York Restaurants Find Their Own Way to Weather Through Storm

For thousands of restaurants in New York, and all along the East coast of the United States, Hurricane Sandy has had a tremendous effect. Restaurants face structural damages as well as forgone profit from days of closure. However some restaurants managed to brave the weather and remain open despite all odds, and several lists were compiled to direct hungry customers where to eat. For those restaurants that remained closed many were hindered by employee transportation issues, or were directly in zones that were ordered to evacuate.

By Tuesday afternoon many restaurants throughout New York had reopened, relieving people suffering from power loss or simply looking forward to a good meal. While many restaurants owners are still assessing the damage to their properties, the prevailing mood is positive among those in the restaurant industry, providing as much empathy to hungry customers as possible, and supporting the businesses directly in the storms path.

“NYC restaurants will be fine, we got through 9-11 & New Orleans has proven just how resilient the cooking community can be #hardasnails”, tweeted restaurateur David Chang. In Brooklyn, New York restaurants showed just how tough they are by remaining open late into Monday night, some even maintaining delivery to a lucky few customers.

Around Clinton Hill in Brooklyn Dominoes continued to deliver pizzas until about 7:30 p.m. Monday night. Employee Angel Perez explained “It’s the rule. Domino’s always stay open, no matter what.” The pizza is delivered from a van instead of a bike, and company policy requires the restaurant chain to keep delivering as long as possible.

Other restaurants kept up a healthy takeout business throughout Monday night, with Anima Italian Bistro selling plenty of food throughout the day. The owner refused to let his employees risk themselves delivering food however, and the restaurant stayed open until 8 p.m.

Meanwhile food trucks were mostly grounded throughout Monday, particularly those in Brooklyn. Even those that that didn’t risk flooding would find few customers and face significant risks powering up their trucks. Redhook food truck Snap Truck tweeted “Rising waters in #RedHook where we live. The end of Van Brunt & Conover are wet, but most of the ‘hood is ok for now.” The popular World Financial Center food truck lot was also closed on Monday, with the majority of New York’s food trucks closed for the day.

While many restaurants opened their doors throughout the storm sensing a business opportunity, others saw their businesses as way to help their local communities. Putnam’s Pub in on Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill served food Monday until 5 p.m. The bar was packed with local residents, but the owner chose to close early out of concern for his employees.

“A lot of the guys in the kitchen live out in far Queens, so I’m driving them home,” said owner Gerry Rooney. “The people who work at the bar mostly live within a two-block radius, so when the storm gets bad, we can just lock the door and run home. But I wouldn’t want to drive on the BQE once the hurricane hits.”

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

 

Pumpkin Crop is Healthy This Year, No Shortage in Sight

The effects of this year’s drought in the United States have threatened to diminish our supply of pork, beef and various forms of produce that farmers have been unable to yield in high quantities. However a drought isn’t so bad for all crops, and pumpkins seem to be faring better this year than in recent years when hurricanes and storms plagued many pumpkin crops in Middle America.

A stretch of farmland near Morton, Illinois is where the majority of the nation’s pumpkins are grown. Farmers there say the crop looks great this year, and they will be a small victory beside the other crops scorched by this year’s drought. Elsewhere thousands of cattle were sold off because the pastures their ranchers use for grazing have gone too dry, and corn and soybean farmers lost crops from the long drought. However pumpkins thrive in dry weather, they prefer warm temperate clients that repel fungus and mold that are more prevalent in wet climates.

Most pumpkins are also grown from seeds, which develop complex root systems that go deep into the ground and find water other plants cannot. John Ackerman, a farmer from Morton, Illinois expects a robust crop of pumpkins this year. Ackerman planted about 70 percent of his 30 acres of pumpkins in May, which did very well. He planted the rest of his pumpkins in June and July, and after sitting “in dust for a while” they are finally turning orange now.

In the last few years excess rain has actually hurt American pumpkin production. Nestlé’s affiliate brand Libby’s has a pumpkin-canning plant near Morton, and in 2009 farmers had to leave most of their crop behind after tractors were unable to move in the rain saturated ground. Afterwards a shortage of canned pumpkins led to bidding wars on eBay during holiday season. The summer afterward was the wettest in the history of Illinois, and although Morton was spared the worst, pumpkin production suffered elsewhere throughout the state. Continuing this trend, last year’s pumpkin crop in the Northeast was ravaged by Hurricane Irene and other storms.

After years of struggling pumpkin crops, this year there should be more than enough pumpkins for the holiday season. Nestle produces about 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin, and the majority of it comes from Morton.

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