In order to be safe from the perils of Hurricane Sandy, the mayor ordered us to stay home, as long as we did not reside in one of the evacuation zones. Since I reside in the Upper West Side away from Central Park and the Hudson River, there was no loss of power, water, or trees crashing through my 14th floor apartment windows. There can be a guilty feeling associated with being safe from a natural disaster, while others not too far from you are dying in accidents, and homes and businesses are being demolished by trees and water.
I get the same feeling every time I hear of the dangers of living in Haiti, a people who have just suffered the brunt of Hurricane Sandy before us. I am part Haitian, from my mother’s side of the family, and I can’t help but feeling fortunate that I am not enduring the catastrophes that seem never-ending.
When I get past those initial feelings, I wish blessings to all who have endured Hurricane Sandy and are dealing with the aftermath of damages and expenses.
As we wait for the infrastructure to be up and running again, anxiety sets in as to how to repair the damages and move forward. Some businesses have been totaled or severely damaged. The major concern is to reopen, electricity permitting, so as to get back on track to pay the bills.
Most insurance policies will not cover these losses and that is a stark reality. As a small business owner in this economy, I always urge supporting small businesses lest the landscape of our neighborhoods change into a chain store/mall permanently. Now more than ever is the time to do something about it, by getting out and supporting your neighborhood shop, who besides damages, are looking to lose at least a week of sales. Landlords will not relent, nor will the tax man, and some of us who have been just squeaking by are looking at serious debt, or worse, closure.
After assessing the damages at Pata Negra, we will open, even without power, with candles, a boom box, wine, jamon and cheese. Please come down, and I don’t mean just on Friday and Saturday nights.
To help keep all of your favorite places open I urge you to shop East Village, #shopEV.
Updates on www.patanegratapas.com, twitter @ChezChefmateo.com
May you all be safe, and speedy recovery back to a normal life.