Post-Sandy, NYC Shop Owner Is Optimistic On 9/11 Anniversary

Sep 11, 2013

Marco Pasanella bought his building on South Street in Lower Manhattan in March 2002. His friends and family called him crazy, but he knew he found a diamond in the rough.

Twelve years later, his wine shop has been through its ups and downs.

“The high point was about October 28th of last year where everything seemed to be just ducky,” Pasanella told Here & Now. “October 29th brought Sandy … and she really submerged the entire Seaport neighborhood.”

But the neighborhood is rallying.

“We bounce back and we look forward,” Pasanella said. “I’m always optimistic about what can happen in the future.”

Guest

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Transcript

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

On this 12th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, let's hear from Marco Pasanella, owner of Pasanella & Son Vintners, a wine shop about half a dozen blocks from the World Trade Center. He bought the historic building that houses his wine shop just a few months after 9/11.

MARCO PASANELLA: Well, I was a New Yorker and I wasn't going to abandon the city. I was born and bred there. And I felt that I was going to not run away. And it felt like an authentic neighborhood. It felt like a real place that had a soul to it. And that wasn't something that was erased by 9/11.

CHAKRABARTI: So at what point in time over the course of these many years did you start to feel pretty secure like, you know, business is good, the neighborhood's coming back?

PASANELLA: Well, there were some ups and downs, that's for sure. But I would say that probably the high point was about October 28 of last year where everything seemed to be just ducky.

CHAKRABARTI: Because October 29 was Superstorm Sandy.

PASANELLA: Sandy, yes.

CHAKRABARTI: So what happened?

PASANELLA: Sandy brought with her six and half feet of water, at least, into my building, and really submerged the entire Seaport neighborhood.

CHAKRABARTI: And it must have derailed your business for a while.

PASANELLA: Well, yes. But the neighborhood is just now really starting to come back. So it's really been almost a year, and we're getting ready to be really be back in full force, but almost there.

CHAKRABARTI: But honestly, how is business now?

PASANELLA: Crummy. Crummy. It's crummy because there's just not enough people around, and that's kind of the backbone of our business was really these people who stop by every day, and those people haven't been around for a long time.

CHAKRABARTI: You know, Marco, listening to you and we're talking about the devastation that occurred to the neighborhood during 9/11, the devastation that occurred after Superstorm Sandy hit last year, and yet, we started this conversation with you telling us about the deep history, you know, of where you live and where you business is located. So is it fair for me to ask, you know, when you take step back and you look around, do you just - do you see what everything that you've experienced as part of the history of your corner of Lower Manhattan?

PASANELLA: I do. And I'm sure in a few years, I'll, you know, I'll laugh about it more. But, yeah, I mean, we bounce back and we look forward. And I'm always optimistic about what can happen in the future.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, Marco Pasanella is owner of Pasanella and Son Vintners, a wine shop on South Street in Lower Manhattan's Seaport district. Marco, thank you so very much.

PASANELLA: Thank you.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, when we come back, the brother of a 9/11 firefighter. You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.