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Superstorm Sandy

Long storm recovery for Lower Manhattan

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

When some seventh and eighth graders from California visited the South Street Seaport on a class trip on Monday, they saw shuttered stores and empty streets, and had little to do except visit some gift shops in Pier 17.  

Their New York City guide agreed with surveys indicating few stores in the seaport have reopened four and a half months post Superstorm Sandy. 

Some Financial District buildings by the East River still do not have full power. But because their owners have more money they can afford to power their buildings with outdoor generators and boilers.

Most of the small seaport businesses do not have that ability.

The city's Economic Development Corporation and Pier 17 owner Howard Hughes Corporation are set to demolish Pier 17 and rebuild it into a glass-enclosed grass-roofed mall. This is scheduled to begin July 1, the height of the summer and the busiest season for the seaport.

City Council Member Margaret Chin, who represents Lower Manhattan, has requested the demolition wait until after the summer.

Grace Capobianco, the publisher of Downtown Magazine, located a block for the seaport, said she agreed.

For the long term, Capobianco is bullish on the seaport and notes that it is impossible to rent office space in Lower Manhattan.

She believes that with the city efforts to rebuild the infrastructure with the new World Trade Center and the Fulton Transit hub, the seaport and the rest of Lower Manhattan will be hot again in two years.

But some small shop owners believe big chain stores and upscale businesses will squeeze out mom-and-pop stores. 

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