Five months after Super storm Sandy, everyone has seen the photos from New Jersey, Queens, and Staten Island showing the continuing storm damage. But few outside of those directly affected and living with the long nightmare that is recovery from the storm realize that another major part of New York City was decimated by the storm: Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is personal to me. From December, 2005 through July, 2011 I called southern Brooklyn my home. Of all the places across the country where I have lived, Brooklyn remains my favorite place to live. Where else can you visit preserved battlefields from the August 25th, 1776 Battle of Brooklyn, walk among the second largest grove of Japanese cherry trees in the United States (only Washington D.C.’s is larger), and dine on some of the best seafood in the country all within one day?
Brooklyn is a great place to live, work, and visit with diversity, culture, beautiful architecture, parks, beaches, and amazing cuisine.
What most people outside of the tri-state area do not realize is just how much damage Brooklyn suffered during Sandy. Today, five months after the storm, Brooklyn is still in great pain. Insurance money and government assistance for rebuilding has been slow to come for residents and businesses to the hardest hit areas like Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and Coney Island. Many of these folks lost absolutely everything. Five months later, many businesses are still not open and may not be for quite some time.
One of the great stories of recovery from Sandy is the El Greco diner located at 1821 Emmons Ave. El Greco provides one of the best views of the Sheepshead Bay (named for a now extinct local fish) with outdoor dining spaces during the warmer months so close to water birds on the bay that you feel like you can touch them.
During Super storm Sandy, the basement at El Greco was flooded to the ceiling. The water reached into the dining room ½ to 1 full inch deep. According to Peter, one of the El Greco’s managers, the water destroyed all of the restaurants equipment in the basement. For six weeks, the El Greco was completely without power. It took another week and a half after restoration of power before the restaurant could be re-opened – just in time for Christmas.
Unlike many of its neighbors, the building itself held up to the storm with just wind damage to the restaurant’s roof, helped by its elevated location from the street. This greatly helped them re-open ahead of other businesses on Emmons Avenue.
Today, life is close to back to normal for the El Greco, a shining success story in a hard hit section of Brooklyn where life may not be completely normal for everyone for a very long time, including the Comfort Inn at 3218 Emmons Ave which remains closed at this date.
Each of us can help the hardest hit parts of Brooklyn with our patronage. Take your next vacation to Brooklyn, New York. Dine at the amazing restaurants like the El Greco Diner across Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and Coney Island where you will find some of the freshest and best seafood values in New York City. The El Greco in particular is a must-dine at, with one of the broadest menus in Brooklyn offering something for everyone and delicious cuisine at a great price. While you are there, stroll down Emmons Ave and watch the many water birds that grace the bay. It’s an amazing vacation or staycation for you and your family that will make a real difference to those hurting the most from super storm Sandy. It’s a win-win for all.