Local Businesses Brave Sandy to Serve City Dwellers

By the look of Times Square, you’d never know a storm was coming.

Despite dire warnings from city officials and nearby businesses in Lower Manhattan boarding up windows and sandbagging storefronts, the epicenter of New York City remained bustling ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

Ahmed Radwn continued to roll meatballs in his food truck, Fouda’s Halal Food, on 48th Street and Broadway right out in the open, with just an awning shielding him from the drizzle.

“My boss is home sleeping, scared of the storm,” Radwn said. He has a 12-hour shift to work, and has no plans to close up shop as of yet.

“Yes, I am scared,” he said.

Liz Lillis, a fellow street stand owner of The Newsstand just down the street, said in her 42 years of business she has seen more than her fair share of storms.

“I am safe in here, it’s not even that windy,” Lillis said. “I’ve seen it all before. I’m not scared though, as a girl in the south, my grandmother always said to keep smiling. I don’t stop smiling in bad weather, just because the weather is changing.”

Hun Kang, manager of Gourmet Deli on 47th Street, said the business benefitted from staying open Sunday night ahead of Sandy.

“We got double the traffic for a weekend,” he said. “We will stay open, even if it’s serious.”

Kang noted the business would probably lose some money today because regular customers weren’t coming in. Many local offices in Midtown closed ahead of the storm, and will likely close Tuesday as well.

However, tourists weren’t letting Sandy keep them in their hotels. Babur Nawaz, manager of Playland Gifts on Broadway, continued selling souvenirs to a packed store Monday morning.

“No matter what, we open at 8 a.m.,” he said. “We don’t have as many customers because they are scared. If it gets too windy we will close our front doors, but the store will stay open.”

Dervish, a Turkish restaurant on 47th Street, stayed open Monday for the same reason. Hasan Altingad, manager, said customers will need a place to eat later, and he hopes they will choose his business.

“It all depends on how strong the storm is, but we will probably break even,” Altingad said. “We have food to serve, and people have to eat.”