Saturday, August 17, 2013

How Sandy has changed the game in Coney Island

How Sandy has changed the game in Coney Island | The Indypendent


“We’ve been doing everything on the up-and-up for 20 years,” said Jane Parmel, who runs a party-planning business at the corner of West 15th St. and Mermaid Avenue. She lost $150,000 in equipment and supplies to the storm’s rising waters. “In those 20 years I’ve employed over 100 people, and I can get nothing back from the city that I’ve paid taxes to.”

Around the corner from Parmel, Magda Perez has received one $15,000 loan from the Small Business Administration. Perez and her husband Sabino Eugenio, a retired butcher, opened Mermaid Prime Meats last October with a the hope of providing groceries at affordable prices to their fellow Coney Islanders, more than a third of whom rely on food stamps. In order to use food stamps in a business, that business must have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card swipe machine, which is provided by New York State in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the wake of Sandy damage, the state has stalled on providing Perez with a machine, which has caused her business to dwindle. Now, the Perez and her husband struggle to keep their shelves stocked. Many other businesses in the area have fared worse, remaining shuttered because they could get neither direct assistance nor loans.

“Right now there are so many dead zones where there are no banks or supermarkets,” said Perez, a 45-year resident of Coney Island. “Before the storm there were local stores where you’d run in and get what you need, now you have to go out of your way.” (Click on article title above to see the rest of story).

Stores were shuttered after Sandy flooded  Coney Island

The New Grimaldi's Pizza after Sandy hit

It is easy to see the water line along Surf Avenue. Owner worked hard to reopen.  Other stores never did.

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