NYC Post Hurricane Sandy Update: How You Can Help!

The GSN news desk (only a few hours northwest of NYC) received this from our friends at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic a few minutes ago, and thought it was well worth sharing with you.

There’s no one place to start when surveying the damage left behind in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Choosing any one group or relief effort feels narrow and self-serving — and many of you reading this are no doubt mired in your own struggles coming out of the storm (or indeed, may not be reading this for days, even weeks, still to come).

So to apply but one filter to the many concerns presently facing our region: right now we’re thinking about our friends and colleagues in the hospitality and beverage industries, many of whom will spend the next year fighting tooth and nail for their businesses’ survival. Even for those who manage to get back up and running quickly, the road to any semblance of profitability will be a long one, at best.

Those of you who have made it through the past week relatively unscathed, we humbly ask of you: please, support the local businesses that you want to see make it through 2012. Pay in cash, whenever possible. Tip generously. Tell your friends to do the same. A handful of bars in Lower Manhattan are already open for business thanks to the collective energies (and ice) of numerous bars in Brooklyn and upper Manhattan. If you want to get a jump-start supporting your favorite local watering holes, here’s an updated list of bars open for business (including many in the Sandy zones). Similarly, Eater has been compiling a list of restaurants open for business.

Further, many bars and restaurants will be hosting fundraising events over the coming days and weeks, which we will try to keep track of on the Classic’s Facebook page. (Tonight, for example, Booker & Dax will be taking over Momofuku Ma Peche starting at 5pm to raise money for the American Red Cross.) Eater is also continually updating a page for fundraising events nationwide.

And if you’ve got the time and wherewithal to do more than patronize your beloved local establishments: the USBGNY (United States Bartenders’ Guild, New York chapter) has organized a volunteer effort to help clean up some of the bars that were most devastated. Their herculean efforts have already received national recognition on NBC News; folks can sign up to volunteer via this form.

Lastly, a number of Brooklyn-based distilleries and producers have also been badly affected. King’s County Distillery; Jack From Brooklyn; Cacao Prieto; the Red Hook Winery; Six Point Brewery (to list but the handful we’ve spoken to). If you want to see these brands survive, go out and buy their products. And, while you’re at it, why not buy them from one of the retailers who have been similarly devastated: Dry Dock Wines & Spirits in Red Hook; Waterfront Wines & Spirits in Brooklyn Heights; Rosetta Wines in FiDi; Vintry Wines in Battery Park (again, to list but a few).

Once again, please forgive the narrow slant of this email, both in content and geography. Going out to your favorite local bar and buying a few rounds of drinks may feel like a drop in an enormous, $50 billion bucket of devastation — and it is. But it is absolutely true that our collective spending behaviors over the next few months will directly determine which small businesses shutter, and which continue to be a part of the vibrant tapestry of New York City culture. (And besides, we could all surely use a drink or three right about now.)

Bottoms up, dear friends — we’ll get through this yet.

– The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Team

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