Over the past 12 months we've attempted to document the city's reconstruction through the lens of its culinary culture—restaurants bouncing back, food industry workers donating their time and equipment, food lovers giving everything they can. The city has come a long way. Here's a look back at how it got here, and what work remains to be done.
'Hurricane Sandy' on Serious Eats
As New York's flood zones contemplate the danger of another Sandy-style storm, many are asking themselves: are longstanding coastal communities at risk of another massive flood worth redeveloping? For some restaurants, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
In the first days after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, when New York at its most vulnerable since September 11th, the food community showed its true colors, coming together to help in ways that inspired us. One year later, the initial clean up is over. But the spirit behind these relief efforts has endured and, in some cases, evolved to effect lasting social change.
Yesterday, we published part one of our two-part check-in on New York's food industry one year after Hurricane Sandy. We spoke with 21 businesses about their stories, about their struggles, the broken promises made to them, and how they're doing today. Today we return with the second act: tales of community togetherness and resilience, their takeaways from the storm, and a few conclusions of our own.
It's been almost one year since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. During that time we spoke with dozens of food businesses about their struggles after the storm. On the cusp of Sandy's anniversary we checked in to see how they're doing today. Here are their stories.
How Brooklyn's largest food festival raised—and broke—hopes for food businesses on the brink.
During the darkest days following Hurricane Sandy's impact on the East Coast, there was no greater sight than watching help pour in from unlikely places. One was New York's food truck community, and now we have a chance to honor their work.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Team Rubicon, a group of military veterans with first response training, was one of many civilian organizations that made an immediate and instrumental impact on New York's recovery. Now they're heading to Oklahoma to lend a hand, They're seeking funding, and New York food businesses are doing their part.
Over seven months have passed since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, and while much of the city is back to normal or well on its way, the South Street seaport tells a different story. Once-bustling streets are now half-abandoned, and many restaurants and food businesses still have months to go before they can think of reopening.
"I live right by the water. I could see the storm surge and the boardwalk get dislodged," Robyn Hillman-Harrigan told me as she explained the origins of the Rockaway Rescue Alliance's Shore Soup Project. Since Hurricane Sandy, the organization has served 50,000 meals to those hardest hit by the storm. But Shore Soup is about more than relief—it's forward-thinking compassion, a social justice project through food.
Contrary to recent news coverage, Totonno's did not have to replace their oven following last fall's hurricane damages. Read what co-owner Antoinette Balazano has to say on the matter.
Yesterday, Totonno's opened its doors once again. It's not every restaurant—or family—that would display the kind of resilience that we've seen from this iconic Coney Island pizzeria. And we cannot wait to get our fix.
The flood waters of hurricane Sandy were deceptively cruel to the Red Hook seafood restaurant. "At first, it seemed like all items above the flood line were okay," says chef Kevin Moore. "We thought we'd replace the sheetrock, the wainscoting... but then we noticed the floor tiles were buckled, and the fear of mold became paramount... there was a dull quiet in the place like the life had drained with the sea." But after a long rebuilding period, the restaurant, which opened in 2008, has returned.
Some good news from Red Hook: after months of post-Sandy repairs, two neighborhood favorites—Fairway and Red Hook Lobster Pound—are back in business as of today.
It's been a busy few months for Chef Eduard Frauneder: while hurricane Sandy flooded one of his restaurants, he was trying to open a bar, all while maintaining the sense of community he and his partner Wolfgang Ban have worked hard to build. We sat down with him to talk about the challenges of recovering from the storm, opening his new bar, and what family means to his business.
On Monday, news broke that Governor in Dumbo will not reopen after months of construction delays and unexpected costs, after having been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. While the food scene is reeling at how the $42,000 raised for its reopening is going to be returned or reallocated, Chef Brad McDonald has left the restaurant group and been silent to the press. We spoke with McDonald back in November about what state the recovery was in, and were awaiting an updated interview when Monday's news came out. Here are some answers to the why's and how's, and the previously unpublished interview—now a bittersweet discussion.
Back in early December, chef Daniel Patterson organized a fundraising dinner at Coi, one of his San Francisco restaurants, to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. A portion of the proceeds were to be reserved for the acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant Governor. Last week, Governor's owners announced that it will not be reopening. Now Patterson will be rerouting the $5,000 raised for Governor to another New York food business in need: Brooklyn institution Totonno's.
New York's food artisan community is working together to help Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina recover after she lost everything to hurricane Sandy. Here's one way to help: buy a cinnamon and goat milk caramel brownie from Robicelli's.