Sunday's Super Bowl served as a welcomed distraction for the owners of the The Blackwater Inn in Rockaway Park and their patrons. NY1's Mahsa Saedi filed the following report.
For the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit, the Blackwater Inn bar in Rockaway Park is open for business. And not just on any old night but on the biggest night in football: Super Bowl Sunday.
"It means a lot, it's great," said Brian Woods, a customer.
"I'm happy and I'm glad, this is my favorite spot in the bar, and I'm going to enjoy it for the rest of my life," said John Farrell, a customer.
The McDonagh family has owned the bar for nine years. Business was good, until Sandy came.
After it was flooded by the storm, the bar had to be gutted: The walls, the furniture, the floors -- all thrown out.
"Now down here the water was sitting in here for about six weeks so to open up the door was like to get punched in the face," said bar owner Tom McDonagh.
Workers spent the first half of Super Bowl Sunday replacing lights, putting in furniture, and cleaning up. McDonagh says all this was to lift the spirit of folks in the storm-battered neighborhood.
"Just to maybe forget about the storm, even if it's just for a little while, or maybe get together finally and discuss everybody's story of what happened that night," said bar owner Ellen McDonagh.
Many of the folks say they've been coming in for years.
"It's nice to see everybody coming back and doing the right thing and helping out, you know little by little we'll come back, Rockaways strong," said bartender Kelly Magill-Hanglow.
The Blackwater Inn is still undergoing repairs and the owners say they will have to close following the Super Bowl but hope to be open once and for all within the next month.