It's been two and a half weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit and some small businesses in Broad Channel and Howard Beach are still closed, with owners who say they'll need thousands of dollars before they can consider opening their doors. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Umberto Lopresti has not served a single slice from his pizzeria on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel since Sandy arrived. Now, he's left tallying up what his insurance won't cover.
He estimates it will cost him $3,000 to fix or replace his back stove, boiler, refrigerator and kitchen, which flood waters destroyed.
Down the block, several employees were cleaning up Hammberry's Food Market. They swept, ripped up floor boards and cleaned merchandise scattered across the floor.
"Everything is gone, everything totally destroyed," said shop owner Ketan Prajapatr. "Around $100,000, $180(,000)."
For Prajapatr, much of that money could come out of pocket.
"Insurance companies, we talk, because that's where they make money," Prajapatr said. "They say 'this is an act of God.'"
While they're still struggling, down the road in Howard Beach, a few businesses are starting to open their doors, much to the delight of residents.
"I've been waiting for the optical to open for the last two weeks now, so I am very happy that I can finally go and get my prescriptions," said one resident.
As those businesses slowly get back on their feet, FEMA is stepping in to help those still in need. The agency announced a low-interest disaster loan program is available through the Small Business Administration. Business owners and homeowners can call 1-800-659-2955 or visit sba.gov.
Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, who represents the areas of Howard Beach and Broad Channel, said there is a small business forum Friday at Resorts World Casino. He said it will give business owners who seek information and assistance a chance to meet with city, state and federal officials.