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Bar owner’s narrow escape from flooded basement - Brooklyn Paper

Bar owner’s narrow escape from flooded basement

Geoff Wiley helps pump floodwaters from the basement of Sunny’s bar in Red Hook.
Photo by Ken Yapelli

The water hit Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook when Tone Balzano was in the worst place possible: the basement.

The owner of the legendary Conover Street drinking hole was battening down the hatches a moment too late when she heard a crashing noise from above.

“The sea came up and the window just popped,” said Balzano, who managed to escape the basement before the surging water could trap her downstairs.

The water completely filled the basement and rose about five feet inside the first floor of the taproom, leaving Balzano soaked and the bar damaged.

“The floor is all buckling,” said Balzano. “This is going to be a massive cleanup.”

Thankfully, neighbors have been eager to help.

Geoff Wiley, owner of the Jalopy Theater and School of Music, was one of several people who showed up to pump out Sunny’s basement.

He spent Tuesday braving the wet and the grime with a small sump pump to help others in need — and that’s after a late night of keeping soggy Brooklynites warm at his folksy venue.

“We were open all night. We’re serving free chili and coffee to everyone,” said Wiley.

A crew later showed up with a bigger pump that sucked much of the seawater out of Sunny’s.

Balzano is grateful that Wiley and other community members came together when she was in a moment of need.

“Thank God for friends,” she said. “The government can only do so much.”

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