NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Weeks after Sandy hit the Tri-State Area, businesses in Downtown Manhattan remain crippled and some owners are unsure if they will ever be able to recover.
After twenty-five years of serving up some of the best Italian food in the Financial District Elio Djonbolaj is fighting for his livelihood.
“I look around, there’s no people around, I don’t know how we are going to survive,” he told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian.
Djonbolaj’s restaurant required more than $200,000 in repairs after Sandy, it has been closed for three weeks.
When Sandy hit, dozens of Downtown buildings went dark and thousands of employees were relocated. For small businesses like restaurants and salons those relocated employees make up a large portion of the customer base.
“When you are in the business district you get your hair done, get your nails done on your lunch hour, on a break, after work,” said Salon owner Arthur Gancz.
Gancz said that he is shouldering a small work load while most of his employees are on hiatus.
“Now it’s just minimal, I’m doing a few clients her and there, just keeping us open, we don’t have phone lines,” he explained.
The businesses that have remained open are clamoring for customers.
“The big thing is that the rest of New York, and the rest of the city needs to know that we are open and running,” said Peter Pakouloukos.
Pakouloukos owns seven restaurants on Stone Street. He spent a fortune restoring them, but has seen a dramatic drop off in business.
Around the corner at the historic South Street Seaport, nearly every shop in town is shut down, from popular retailers to restaurants.
Many owners are uncertain if they will ever open again.
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