"We threw everything out," he said. Only a few cases of beer and the wine cellar remained relatively intact.
As we chatted, his staff of 150 or so buzzed around him, moving in and out of the building and Ulysses, the bar next door owned by his son Peter, who also owns many of the other bars and restaurants on Stone Street.
Anything they needed? "We could use more gasoline," Peter said, pointing to the generators.
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Others were not so lucky: In lower-lying parts of lower Manhattan, on Bridge Street, just a few hundred feet away, there is a row of early 19th century buildings — the only ones surviving from the Great Fire of 1835.
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These are small shops, bars, and restaurants. The street was buzzing with activity: the owners were airing out their shops and pumping out their basements, and hauling away ruined inventory.
Some were facing almost a complete loss of their businesses. Workers at Zigolini's restaurant were hauling food out of the basement, throwing out large quantities of steaks.
A few doors away, at the FIKA espresso bar, the owner told me the water not only went in the basement, but it went into the main floor of the cafe, several feet above ground level.
When I asked when he would reopen, he shrugged and said, "I have no idea."
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani
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