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City Island open for business

Bronx Times

It takes more than a little ‘ol hurricane to put City Island out of business.

That’s the word from the City Island Chamber of Commerce, which is proclaiming its shops and restaurants very much in business for the holiday season.

The chamber has fielded numerous phone calls over the past few weeks from concerned shoppers and restaurant patrons wondering if the island is open for businesses after Superstorm Sandy, said Paul Klein, the chamber vice-president.

“Things are almost back to normal, and City Island is a great place to come for your holiday needs,” said Klein.

The retail stores and the vast bulk of the restaurants are open for business and ready to serve the public.

“City Island was a mandatory evacuation zone, and the boat yards got hit and one restaurant did burn,” said Klein. “But the bulk of the restaurants are up and running, the stores and galleries are running.”

There will be sales on a new shipments of toys and on jewelry at Klein’s own cooperative gallery, Kaleidoscope at 280 City Island Avenue, as well as a $19.95 five-course dinner special at Lobster House at 691 Bridge Street, said Klein.

The Lobster House is probably extending the “soup-to-nuts” special into January, said owner Joe Mandarino. He added that the special was being offered to restore a sense of normalcy after the storm.

The restaurant lost it’s large rooftop lobster, toppled during Sandy.

Klein added that recent Christmas Tree and Menorah lightings in Hawkins Park served as a kick-off to what retailers hope will be a bright holiday season.

Both Kaleidoscope and Focal Point Gallery at 321 City Island Avenue recently premiered some new artists too, he added.

But chamber members have noticed a decline in business since the storm, said Klein.

“The storm was publicized and people are now associating City Island with the Rockaways and Staten Island,” he said. “I just wanted to get the word out that we are alive and well.”

One of the reasons that City Island may have fared better was that storm surge did not occur right at the high tide. City Island is located between Eastchester Bay and a narrowing of Long Island Sound.

Many docks at boatyards and elsewhere around the island were damaged during the storm.

Tony’s Pier Restaurant burned down, as firefighters worked valiantly and successfully in preventing the fire from spreading. A sign on the restaurant recently indicated that it will reopen by the summer of 2013.

One house caught fire during the storm, the local paper, The City Island Current, first reported. Another house on Pilot Street caught fire when out-of-state work crews were restoring power and there was an electric power surge.

But the damage to City Island, when compared with other shoreline communities, was minimal, said Klein, and businesses are pretty much back to running normally.

“We are just waiting for customers,” said Klein. “We are here to serve you.”

To further drive home that point that City Island is open for business, Senator Jeff Klein held a press conference on the island at Kaleidoscope urging local borough residents to shop local and visit the restraurants in the nautical community.

“It’s important to shop local especially after a devastating event like Hurricane Sandy,” said Senator Klein. “The holiday season is one of the busiest times for small business owners who depend on this season to stay open all year around. I encourage residents throughout my district to help out our communities and to shop local this holiday season.”

Senator Klein was scheduled as of press time to be joined at the conference by City Island Chamber of Commerce president Skip Giacco and vice president Paul Klein, City Island Civic Association vice president Barbara Dolensek, and representatives from Sammy’s Fish Box, Bistro SK, City Island Diner and Captain Mikes Diving.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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