Nearly a month after Hurricane Sandy swept through Hoboken, the doors of many businesses remain shut. Hoboken downed businesses are keeping downtown under-shopped, midtown under-drunk, and uptown underfed. While most businesses in town re-open, some hope to reopen by Christmas and others are not sure they will reopen at all.
Sobriety in Midtown
Garden Wine & Liquor Store, 700 Park Ave., has been gutted. A sign in the window pledges sobriety until they reopen, with various signatures already committed. The corner liquor store was able to sell spirits immediately after the hurricane, even if it was in the dark.
Owner Philip Feinstein said, “We did better during the storm. It was after the storm, we encountered problems.”
Feinstein has since contracted R.E.D., a local gut and renovation company, to take apart its well-stocked insides. All new floors and shelving are being put in.
“[R.E.D.] took everything out in two days, they said they should have it put back in 12,” said Feinstein.
In the meantime, local patrons have put their signatures on a sign outside pledging not to drink until that day comes.
“I feel like a punching bag” – Ofer Tal
“There were custom electrical supplies made for that space,” Carney said. “It was overcome by water. The compressors, the gas meters, electrical service to the building all had to be replaced. The water got so high in the basement and went up the piping. The copper began to corrode. We had to use salt-away, which is used on boats. Everything had to be dehumidified and dried. We also had to clean the beams and replace all of the soda machines, the ice machine, the walk-in freezer, the keg connections, six hot water heaters, six boilers. Everything will be brand new.”
Carney said that the custom electrical components will be replaced around Dec. 7. As long as there are no holdups from city inspections, the restaurant should open shortly after that.
Uptown is upside down
Hoboken ShopRite is still closed. A group of men (and women) in strange white uniforms can be seen in the parking lot. Those oddly dressed people are there for a reason: Demolition work. A supervisor from BMS CAT, a Fort Worth, Tex. based disaster restoration company said they have been there for weeks working to get out mold, any contaminated items, and try to rebuild.
BMS CAT has also worked on the adjacent LA Sunset Tan, which displays a sign on its door saying goodbye for good.
The BMS CAT representative, who chose to remain unnamed, said he has been told the target date for ShopRite to reopen is Jan 1.
However, a representative from parent company Wakefern Food Corp, Santina Stankevich, said Wednesday, “We still have no definite date and no timeline for reopening.”
A sign on the door of Cream & Sugar Café, 1001 Madison St., still says they are closed due to Sandy, with a sad face.
Meanwhile, Riverfront Car Wash at 1500 Willow Ave. has been without a phone line since the storm. The busy carwash has not been able to use its credit card machine. Owner Ofer Tal said that the lack of a credit card machine has greatly hurt his business.
“Most of my customers do not carry cash,” he said. “Then they get frustrated. They come here and take out all of their anger [on Riverfront]. I feel like a punching bag.”
Certain banks also remain closed, like TD Bank at 1325 Hudson St. The drive through location located at 60 Fourteenth St. is servicing customers as best as they can, according to a representative in the sub-branch. A customer from the Hudson Street branch did say that she was able to access her safe deposit box after the storm.
Downtown, still down
Walking on First Street from Garden Street to Park Avenue, Hoboken resembles an abandoned town in an old movie. One storefront after the next still has taped-up windows and most of the insides are on the outside. All that can be seen are jutting pieces of wood, piles of trash, and foundations in disarray.
Zin Home at 257 First St., Robert Bazouzi Hair Salon at 254 First St., First Street Café & Deli at 263 First St., Filippo’s Pizza at 267 First St., and Corporate Realty at 265 First St. all showed gutted interiors as of Wednesday morning.
The city sent out a release the day before Thanksgiving saying, “As of today, 97 percent of Hoboken’s 433 retail food establishments have re-opened and passed inspection by the Hoboken Health Department.”
Amanda Palasciano may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.