Conditions Still Bad in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, Most Restaurants Closed
Bad as things are in Coney Island, they're worse in Sheepshead Bay, as my bike ride Friday demonstrated. The concrete-lined bay and quarter-mile-distant town center have a restaurant economy based on seafood. The perfect arc of inland Sheepshead Bay Road is lined with sushi parlors, Turkish and Armenian restaurants, hero shops, and diners. All but one were closed due to the storm and work was proceeding sluggishly on about a third of those, as generators continued to pump -- two weeks later -- what seemed like an endless supply of bilgewater. The sides of the street were lined with garbage in glistening black bags up to the level of your eyeballs.
The grim scene in Sheepshead Bay: The curbs were lined with garbage bags, almost no restaurants were open, and the electricity had yet to be restored. Below, fishing boat sunk! Turkish seafooder Liman in the background on the pier: Work is proceeding there, but reopening is still a long way off.
The story was the same on the bay itself, where the line of restaurants facing the fishing-boat piers have a citywide reputation for great seafood at bargain prices, many favored by the Voice. Iconic and ancient, Randazzo's Clam Bar remained closed (though @kkrader tweeted it may be open by the end of the month), as did Liman and Yiasou Estiatorio. Most strangely of all, since it sits on a sort of promontory overlooking the bay, Greek diner El Greco stared blankly down on the scene without the usual complement of patrons in its windows.
Jimmy's Famous Heros -- one of Brooklyn's most venerable sandwich establishments -- was down for the count, too, and so was Café Istanbul and the Armenian restaurant formerly known as Garden Bay Café, but now called Royal Bay. Baku Palace, an Azerbaijani banquet hall, and the Russian beer garden U Sweika were both shut down, with virtually no activity taking place. Of the 50 or so restaurants I surveyed, 95 percent were still shuttered and often in the earliest stages of cleanup.
Electricity had yet to be restored. About half the fishing boats -- which take day trippers opposite the New Jersey shore for some ocean fishing, but also do a little commercial fishing on the side -- were still in their slips, but the missing boats were an ominous sign, and at least one was seen sunk. The little footbridge that connects Sheepshead Bay with Manhattan Beach had been breeched in the middle, and workers in yellow slickers, assisted by a pair of boats, were trying to repair it.
Still closed: Randazzo's Clam Bar, the quintessential Sheepshead Bay seafood restaurant. Below, still closed: V & S Pizza. Below that, still closed: El Greco.
Work proceeds at badly damaged Turkish seafood restaurant Liman.
Next: the state of Brighton Beach