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Ossining's Boathouse Restaurant Reopens After Sandy

Val Polidoro, co-owner of Ossining's The Boathouse Restaurant, points to how high the water rose in the restaurant during Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell
Lines on the wall at Ossining's The Boathouse Restaurant indicate how high the water levels reached during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

OSSINING, N.Y. – Owners of Ossining’s Boathouse Restaurant, which recently reopened after Hurricane Sandy, won't be fazed by two “100-year storms” hitting in two years.

Co-owners Scott London and Val and Lori Polidoro spent $20,000 to repair flood damage after Hurricane Irene only to be “hit even worse” and spend nearly $100,000 on more repairs after Hurricane Sandy. The restaurant, which sits near the Shattemuc Yacht Club along Ossining’s riverfront, took in several feet of water when Hurricane Sandy swept through the area in late October.

But Val Polidoro said he had to “laugh it off” and remind himself to be thankful that it wasn’t worse.

“We were ready, and it was easier this time even though the storm was worse because we’ve been through it all before,” he said. It took about a day for the restaurant’s crew to clear everything out before Sandy arrived. “We lost a lot of our holiday season, but it still hurt. We went five weeks with nothing, and that was tough, really tough.”

After making the repairs and reopening after Irene, Lori Polidoro said she had a feeling it would happen again.

“This place will definitely flood again, it’s only a question of when,” she said in February. But she didn’t expect it to happen so soon, she said Thursday. “It’s fazing us; we really don’t want this to happen next year.”

While Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) and state Sen. David Carlucci (D-Ossining, Rockland) took a tour of the gutted restaurant earlier this year, they both said riverfront businesses would need help obtaining funds to prepare for future storms. The Boathouse owners said they spoke with their landlord and are planning to construct another floor and move the restaurant up a level..

But that would be a difficult undertaking as well, Lori Polidoro said.

“While that would probably be the best thing to do, we would have to close for a year or two to make it happen,” she said. “We certainly can’t afford that now. But it’s going to be tough for us to go through this again, too.”

The owners are participating in an event Friday for a Hurricane Sandy relief fund. Servers at about a dozen restaurants in Ossining, Briarcliff Manor and Pleasantville are donating their tips to help fund Sandy relief for Rockaway Beach. Val Polidoro said he was happy to be a part of the cause.

“Our servers are doing a great thing by helping out and providing some relief for people who were hit much worse than we were,” he said. “It’s a big deal that they were out of work for a while, and they’re donating their tips. But it’s also going to help us out because it will mean more business so I’m very happy about it.”

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