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NYC Blackout: Many Manhattan Businesses Hurt, But Some Soften Blow With Quick Thinking


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Saturday night's blackout in Manhattan impacted the bottom line of plenty of businesses.

But as CBS2's Dave Carlin found out, some made the best of it.

Business looked like it was back to normal Sunday for restaurants along 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. They are places that lost four hours of business and more when the power went out. They lost thousands of dollars after their doors were closed, inventory was tossed and delivery orders canceled.

"I lost my whole Saturday night. It's the biggest dinner of the week," said Vassilis Triantopoulos, owner of the Olympic Flame Diner.

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Blackout businesses
Inside the Olympic Flame Diner in Hell's Kitchen. (Photo: CBS2)

Triantopoulos said adding to his losses is replacing a big refrigerator that sizzled and failed the second the power came back on.

"Rough estimate, it would be over $5,000," he said.

At Empanada Mama on Ninth Avenue it was lights out but a "light bulb" idea. As seen on video, empanadas and other menu items were peddled out on the sidewalk, where they sold out because hungry customers had very few other options in a blacked-out neighborhood.

"Our first instinct was to get the empanadas out of the hotbox and start selling everything," manager Lorena Cuaya said. "Because we had that incredible idea of using that festival type of thing outside we didn't lose everything completely."

Some AMC theaters were affected by this in the blackout zone, so employees handed out were free popcorn and guest passes.

In addition to the freebies for those movie goers, there were other consolation prizes for customers. Hotel guests unwilling to climb 20 or 30 floors to get back in their rooms were given small gifts to make up for it as they waited in lobbies, which added to the adventure for the Youmans family, mom Kathy and kids Maddie and Jacob, who were visiting from the Los Angeles area.

"We had to sit in the hotel lobby for such a long time and I didn't want to walk up the stairs, but at least we got free drinks and free snacks," Jacob Youmans said.

"We survived it," Kathy Youmans added with a laugh.

While so many businesses were closed by the blackout, there were others where power stayed strong, leading to a better-than-usual Saturday at the cash register.

In some areas it was one side of the block versus the other.

"So I think some businesses probably suffered. Others, they were probably overcapacity," Atlanta tourist Kellie Brownlow said.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson sent out a Twitter message saying businesses "...that experienced equipment damage or loss of inventory should contact NYC Dept. of Small Business Services for assistance," and "call 311 for more info."

It appears there may be some help for those who need it to get back into the black.

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