Sandy Leaves A Mess In Lower Manhattan

Sandy took a big swipe at lower Manhattan on Monday, which is best known for Wall Street and the financial district. While the New York Stock Exchange will be back in operation on Wednesday, some small businesses took a much more punishing hit.

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In lower Manhattan, the New York Stock Exchange was closed yesterday. It's closed again today; slated to reopen tomorrow. More on that, coming up. But Wall Street is not the only industry in lower Manhattan facing trouble from the hurricane. Zoe Chace, of NPR's Planet Money team, has been getting a look around.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: The South Street Seaport is a historic part of the city - some of the oldest buildings in town. It's right at the tip of the island of Manhattan, and it used to be a shipping port, of course. Today, it's mostly high-end shops and restaurants - or was, as this restaurant owner tells it.

PAUL MORGAN: My name's Paul Morgan. I have a restaurant on Front Street and Peck Slip - well, I had restaurant on Front Street and Peck Slip.

CHACE: What does that mean?

MORGAN: That means it's not there anymore. Catastrophic, in one word. The whole place has been ripped up. My fridges are at a 45-degree angle. It's - it's just an absolute mess.

CHACE: You see that everywhere, here. There are a bunch of businesses around, with windows broken. There are headless mannequins, from an Ann Taylor store, strewn about. There's a couple up the block; carried there, presumably, by the floodwaters, which were way higher than Paul Morgan - and many others - anticipated. He was nearby, at a friend's house, during the height of the storm last night.

MORGAN: By the time we put our shoes on and run down, the water was up to our ankles. By the time we got to the corner, it was up to our knees. And the cops were like, you guys - got to go. And we're like, yeah, we figured that one out.

CHACE: You can see the water line on what's left of the glass windows here. Above my head, Morgan points across the street, at another restaurant.

MORGAN: They an outdoor bar. It's over on Water Street right now.

CHACE: How far away is that?

MORGAN: That is two blocks, yeah. This is a lot worse than people think.

CHACE: Walk up the street; there's Ray Hoshoe. He came out this morning and found a couple products from a Brookstone store, two blocks away.

RAY HOSHOE: And I just brought it back, and tossed it back in the broken window.

CHACE: Reverse-looting, kind of awesome; makes sense in New York. When there's trouble, sometimes people like to help each other out.

Zoe Chace, NPR News, New York.

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