Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Gowanus Businesses Like Lavender Lake Still Not Getting Help From City

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Just like many other businesses along the Gowanus Canal, Lavender Lake, a bar/restaurant on Carroll Street just steps away from the canal, has been trying to clean up the mess left behind after Hurricane Sandy.
Since the waterway, an Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund site, is highly toxic and laced with sewage, the job is made ever so much harder.
Since Wednesday last week, Lavender Lake's staff has been in recovery mode. They pulled everything out onto the sidewalk, cleaning and bleaching everything in the restaurant in rubber boots, rubber gloves and masks, hoping that the protection is enough.
In a short video interview made by Creative Creatures Productions  to highlight the plight of Gowanus business owners after the storm,  Sam Wheeler, one of the owners of Lavender Lake, expresses his frustration: "Since the Hurricane we have had no contact or response from the city."
He continues: "What we were hoping was that somebody at some point would maybe do rounds and come around to just tell us is it safe for us to be in there, cleaning, should we be on hold. How do we know when its clean? Is there some test that we can do? We are going to be serving food and drinks in this place and our customers can't be getting sick. That's our priority."
These are all well-foinded concerns. It also raises the question of what to do moving forward in the future. "I don't know what people in flood plains do, but whatever they do, we will have to do no," Wheeler adds.




4 comments:

CAS said...

This is terrible and we're very sorry for our neighbors. What a nightmare.

However, no one is going to "come around" from any agency, city or federal, to check on small business or residences.

In fact, quite the opposite: what you are supposed to do next is, you must go to the City yourself. Buildings in Zone A must either be inspected by the City, or certified by an architect or engineer, post-storm. (PDF here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/re_occupancy_zone_a.pdf )

There are also "business interruption" loans available from the City for small cities, and aid from the feds. You can investigate that here, if you haven't already: http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/html/home/home.shtml

Best of luck.

Josie said...

What a toxic nightmare! I feel so badly for the people and businesses down along the Gowanus Canal corridor dealing with this toxic mess. I also wonder how long until the chemicals start blowing all over the place affecting our entire area?
The chemicals in the Canal are invisible yet can carcinogens. Why won't the CIty demand the CSO's get cleaned too?.

Katia said...

I suppose for the same reason that the city has continued to use the Gowanus Canal as a cess pool despite the pleas of the community.

Anonymous said...

I dont see the people in those pictures wearing rubber boots or masks. And I dont see the owners there cleaning this possibly harmful waste when I ride by on my bike.