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Post Sandy, a resilient NY bar offers 'a little bit of hope'

From Kiran Khalid, CNN
November 19, 2012 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jeremy's Ale House is one of the few survivors in an area devastated by Superstom Sandy
  • Business is slow, but the pub is open -- a welcome watering hole for weary residents
  • "The neighborhood will bounce back," says Jeremy's co-owner. "We're going to be here."

New York (CNN) -- Given their context, the three words scrawled on a chalkboard outside Jeremy's Ale House in New York are defiant, even victorious.

"We are open."

The pub is one of the few survivors in one of New York's historic districts devastated by Superstom Sandy, which ripped through the region last month.

The South Street Seaport was decimated when storm surge combined with high tide to pack a punch so powerful it rendered almost the whole of this New York landmark useless.

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Boards cover windows where businesses once thrived. Mannequins are seen lying face down in stores where cleanup and renovation is under way.

Amid the ruin, Jeremy's endures -- a welcome watering hole for weary residents.

"I was excited because there's a little bit of hope. It's starting little by little," Jennifer Barcko said about the pub being open. Barcko lives across the street and has been unable to return to her apartment since the day after Sandy made landfall on October 29.

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Business at Jeremy's is still slow.

The lunch crowd from nearby companies has dried up and tourists have headed for higher ground. The Howard Hughes Corporation, which runs the historic landmark area, says it will be several weeks before the damage can be assessed.

But Lee Holin, co-owner and the son of Jeremy's namesake, said he expects business to pick back up as word trickles out that the pub is one of the few places open.

"People have come in here and said, 'Thank you so much for being open.' Problem is, is getting the word out that people know we're even open at all. Because if you look outside on the street here, we're all there is," he said.

The customers that do come often want to commiserate with each other, share their post-Sandy "war stories," Holin said. So many in the neighborhood have lost so much.

Holin said he would be hard pressed to even call it a neighborhood anymore, as almost no one is left.

But he and his neighbors said they are determined to weather this storm.

"I believe the neighborhood will bounce back. How long that will take, how long the neighborhood will take to bounce back, I don't know. And it's going to be a struggle, but we're determined to be here. We're going to be here," Holin said.

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