The historic shopping and residential community, known for its unique cobbled streets and proximity to the water, isn't yet fully up and running. Many stores remain closed. A few select residents are still without power and Verizon phone service is still out.
"There's very little foot traffic in the Seaport right now because we're one of the few shops open," said Gideon Finck, an assistant printer at Bowne & Co. Stationers, which features 19th century letter printing.
But Finck and others in the community are forging ahead, in some cases ingeniously using mobile technology to keep their cash registers ringing.
No Traditional Credit Card Machines? No Problem
Back in November, as small businesses assessed water damage after the Oct. 29 storm, it quickly became apparent lack of phone service was a huge problem for retailers, said Daria Siegel of the Downtown Alliance, a nonprofit business improvement district that has a contract with New York City.
Phone service is not only important for calls, but vital to connect to credit-card machines. "Retailers had signs like, 'Open for Business. Cash Only,' " Siegel recalled.
Siegel and the Downtown Alliance were aware of mobile technology that could replace traditional credit-machines, hooked up to phone lines. They reached out to San Francisco-based startup Square, a mobile payments upstart that features an app for Apple iPhone and Android devices called Square Register.
The mobile platform includes a small, card-reading attachment that hooks to a mobile device and accepts payments anywhere. The apps also run on 3G cellular networks — and don't require WiFi Internet access to operate.