DUMBO businesses were hit hard by Sandy, with cavernous spaces such as Galapagos Art Space and powerHouse Arena seeing over 11 feet of water in places and millions of dollars in collective damage sustained.
“Preparations [such as sandbagging, sealing entrances, and moving equipment to higher ground] were not enough and I’m not sure what could have been done to prepare for the amount of water that businesses and residents took in,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District. “We got some [businesses] that really need to tear out all the walls and rebuild, and some that are still drying out the basements and have a ton ahead of them for replacing kitchen equipment.”
Online fundraisers for Galapagos, Governor, and others have been set up on websites such as Smallknot, Go Fund Me, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter. People can also help by patronizing the shops as they begin to reopen, said Dawn Casale of One Girl Cookies, which sustained over $100,000 in damage.
“The community has been amazing since the first day we reopened,” said Casale. “They showed how important we were to them, here and in our Cobble Hill location, placing orders for Thanksgiving. That’s going to be the key to our recovery.”
There’s also some reinvention going on, especially for businesses that specialize in seasonally-based products, such as Aegir Boardworks at 99 Water Street.
“We’re rebuilt cosmetically, but there’s still a ways to go,” said owner Peter Frolick. “The surf market is destroyed because people would go to Long Beach or Rockaway. Now we’re trying to focus our efforts on snowboarding. Hopefully it will not snow [too much] here in the city.”
A Rebuild DUMBO fundraiser will also be held at a newly cleaned and reopened Galapagos Art Space on November 14, to help offset the costs of cleanup and rebuilding.