Bar owner’s narrow escape from flooded basement

for The Brooklyn Paper
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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.”

Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Elizabeth from Red Hook says:
I know you are being inundated with post-Sandy reports, but I must add Red Hook’s heartbreaking stories into the mix. Fortunately, my family and house are fine, but many, many area families had ten-feet of water in their homes. Due to the lack of electricity, they had no way of pumping out the water as generators were far and few between. The Vidals family of Van Brunt Street had not only water in their home, but an oil slick from the gas station down the block!

On a personal note, our lovely neighbors and tenants Julie Pochron and Mark Murphy lost their entire business, Pochron Studios ( ), over on Van Dyke Street. The storm surge was so powerful that it lifted up their car parked in the building’s truck bay and sent it crashing into the studio!!! If can help can one business post-Sandy, please consider helping Pochron Studios and its 14 employees.
Oct. 31, 2012, 11:04 am
Stephen from PLG says:
PRAY FOR SUNNY'S. It's the best bar in the city.
Oct. 31, 2012, 4:33 pm

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