While many of the neighborhoods in the tri-state area have been devastated by the ravages of hurricane Sandy, Bushwick was “miraculously” spared any serious damage. A large number of Bushwick residents who regularly commute to Manhattan have been forced to stay in the neighborhood, and Bushwick business owners report more customers than ever. “It feels like Bushwick is in this protective bubble,” said Nyssa Frank, the owner of Living Gallery, which organizes art classes and exhibitions. “We were so lucky…”
Nyssa wasn’t the only one mentioning the “Bushwick bubble.” Gina Leone and Ben Warren, the owners of bars The Bodega and Heavy Woods mentioned it as well. They said that they see about 60% more customers than usual. “It’s really terrible what happened in other parts of the city,” said Ben sadly. Heavy Woods is planning a benefit night for the areas that suffered the most.
It is true that Bushwick was incredibly lucky. Our reader Erick Verela asked on Bushwick Daily’s Facebook page a question probably on many of our minds: “Should we feel guilty?” I believe that we shouldn’t feel guilty; we should feel very grateful and ask ourselves how can we be helpful.
Loom Yoga Center is organizing a collection of food, clothing, and other useful items to donate to shelters all around the city. Zalmen Labin, the owner of the yoga studio, said that they see about 25% more people at every class. The studio is functioning on its regular schedule, although with many substitute teachers.
Kim, a Bushwick resident who works at Cambridge University Press located in SoHo, Manhattan, said that their offices are out of power and therefore closed. She was waiting to be seated at Café Ghia. “There is a 15-minute wait,” said Kim. Café Ghia was as full on a Thursday afternoon as it usually is on the weekend. Café Ghia’s co-owner Anna D’Agrosa was so busy serving her customers she didn’t even have time to talk to us.
Jerry Cronin, the owner of café Three Angels by the Park, which is named after his three daughters, said that his customer base doubled. “And you know what is the best thing about it?” said Jerry, whose friendly personality makes him very popular among Bushwick residents old and new, “…all the new faces that are coming in!”
Hair colorist Chelsea Pickthorn, who recently opened her salon on Wyckoff Ave, was of the same opinion. “For every Manhattan customer who cancels an appointment, we get another one from Brooklyn. People are walking around, exploring their neighborhood, and making their appointment the next day.” Chelsea said that she has seen an increase of about 30%.
While Bushwick business owners are very busy serving the locals, they all feel very sympathetic toward the areas that were not so lucky. Every business owner we spoke with today expressed interest in organizing a collection or a benefit to help. Bushwick Daily is currently discussing an all-Bushwick fundraiser night with a Red Cross representative. If you are a Bushwick business who would be interested in participating and donating a percentage of your sales from a fundraiser to the Red Cross, please contact us at bushwickdailyATgmail.com. [Update: We are compiling a list of Sandy relief organizations that are accepting monetary donations.]