The tide was high outside Bakehouse, right, at Horatio and West Sts., the night of Sandy.
Bakehouse, the new eatery at the west end of Horatio St. that The Villager profiled earlier this year, was hit extremely hard in the superstorm, and its basement’s contents were completely wiped out. “The cars were floating in front of Bakehouse,” Maud Bonsignour, who owns the place with her husband, Philippe, told us this week. “The water came up to the level of the front-door handle of Bakehouse.” Luckily, the restaurant is located up several steps inside the front door. “The water came up to the third step,” she said. They lost “thousands and thousands of dollars of food, vegetables, meats,” she said, not to mention 250 French books she was storing there while they move apartments, and the refrigerator compressors are also shot. “The smell of the basement is horrible,” she lamented. But they were able to reopen and have been serving a limited menu for brunch and dinner and will be bringing back lunch on Thursday. Making matters even more chaotic, her son’s school, Bard, was also flooded, and held classes in Queens for three days, before finally returning this week to its Lower East Side building. She said Jean-Georges, the upscale Perry St. restaurant in one of the Richard Meier buildings, was even worse off. “Jean-Georges has been destroyed because its restaurant was in the basement,” she said. Bonsignour also has a friend who lives in that building, whose tenants have been told they can’t return for four to five months. “She’s devastated,” she said. Some of Bakehouse’s regular customers who have live-work quarters in ground-floor spaces nearby have just left the neighborhood permanently, she said, adding that a large generator truck is still helping power two residential buildings on the street. Meanwhile, Andre Balazs’s Standard Hotel survived the storm swimmingly — it just goes to show the benefit of building on massive stilts and having no basement. The Jane Hotel also took on a lot of water in its basement, but has kept operating. Lauren Danziger, executive director of the Meatpacking District Improvement Association, said that the Brass Monkey bar “was really smart. They removed everything from their basement.” As for Jeffrey, Danziger said, “We don’t have a relationship with Jeffrey — but I’m sure he’s O.K.” Diane von Furstenberg also survived Sandy, she said.
DAPOLITO OPEN YET? FUGGEDDABOUDIT!
Was the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center at Seventh Ave. South and Clarkson St. hit hard by Superstorm Sandy? As its namesake would say, “Fuggeddaboudit!” The center is still closed after the surge reportedly left 6 feet of water in its basement, and there is no date for when it will reopen. The place does have power back. But, according to Philip Abramson, a Parks Department spokesperson, its boiler is still offline, and without heat or hot water, the center will remain closed until repairs can be made. The whole place is also being inspected for additional structural damages. According to Abramson, the water in “The Dap”’s basement came from Sandy’s surge and not, as one local park advocate suspected, because the sewer overflowed into it.
KEPT ISLAND SCHOOL AFLOAT:
In her major climate change speech on Tuesday, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, noting how she visited affected neighborhoods after the storm, gave a shout-out to a local school that she said exemplified New Yorkers’ “generosity and resolve” in the face of the natural disaster. The janitorial staff kept the aptly named Island School, at 442 East Houston St., hard by the F.D.R. Drive, from being swallowed by Sandy’s waters. “At P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side, I met the custodial team led by Gary O’Neil,” Quinn said. “From Sunday to Wednesday, through the storm and in the days that followed, they slept at the school and spent every waking moment working to keep water from getting in, cleaning up and digging out to get ready for those kids to go back to class.”
COMMUNITY BOARD SANDY:
Our local community board V.I.P.s slogged it out through Sandy and the power outage, just like the rest of us. Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3 district manager, lives on the 11th floor of an East Village high-rise, and, with the elevators out of commission, was stuck with trudging up the stairs. “I had prepared, filled my bathtub with water,” she said, adding, “I had knee-replacement surgery in May, so thank goodness.” She didn’t complain at all, but bore it like a trooper. “When you look at what was going on other places, it was not that tough,” she said. “Eleven flights of stairs twice a day is not that big a deal — for me.” What Stetzer is really concerned about right now is working to ensure that the East Village gets a much-needed, pop-up FEMA location to assist residents and merchants with their recovery. On the West Side, David Gruber, chairperson of Community Board 2, was dealing with lots of issues, as well, mainly figuring out how to pack the board’s full slate of monthly meetings into just 10 days instead of the usual 15. Gruber has made it a mission not to schedule two committee meetings on the same night, so it’s been a challenge. We had heard anecdotal reports that, in terms of cell phone service during the blackout, AT&T was the worst, Verizon the best and Sprint somewhere in the middle. Gruber’s experience bears this out, at least in terms of the first two providers. “I heard that Verizon was better,” he said. “My wife had Verizon and she had a signal. We were both in the same location — our house — and she had a signal and I didn’t!” As for the big C.B. 2 Pier 40 forum that was canceled hours before Sandy swept into town, Gruber said the issue of the beleaguered pier is a bit less urgent now in the context of the region’s recovery. Plus, he wondered if legislative changes to the Hudson River Park Act would now even be part of a special legislative session in December — if there is one — with so much else going on. Gruber said he had everything lined up for the planned Oct. 29 forum. Confirmed speakers included Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Dick Gottfried; Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust; developer Douglas Durst, chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park; and Tobi Bergman, who was set to present the Pier 40 Champions sports-pier plan. “I had it mapped out perfectly,” Gruber said, adding, “Durst had deep-sea divers out there evaluating the pier.”