Mayor Bill De Blasio toured a Queens business that was devastated by flooding when the remnants of Hurricane Ida tore through the city last week — leaving 12 people dead in the raging waters.
De Blasio visited La Adelita of Woodside on Roosevelt Ave. Sunday afternoon, which was ravaged by the deluge causing thousands of dollars in damages to the business, which does not have flood insurance.
Cynthia Iglesias, 30, owns the Mexican eatery with her mother Maria, which opened in 2020.
She described the horror as she saw her business nearly drown as water began to fill up the restaurant’s basement, where the kitchen is located and was in full operation at the time.
The overflow of water caused the sewage pipes to burst, filling up the kitchen in waste up to the staffs’ knees for two hours.
“I was wet and trembling,” Iglesias told The Post Saturday. “It was coming from the drains. The strength was so strong [that] the two pipes, the sewage pipes burst.”
“It was up to my knee,” she said. “[It smelled like] everything, like feces like everything.”
She said she tried to contact a plumber, however they were unable to make it to the restaurant due to the storm.
When the waters receded, Iglesias was left with $3,000 – $5,000 worth in damages, including a destroyed cooler, for freezer and fryer. About $2,5000 worth of food was also destroyed.
The restaurant was forced to close its doors for two days, but has since partially reopened mainly selling pastries. They bought a temporary fryer on credit.
She’s not sure how she and other local businesses without flood insurance will be able to recover.
“The same way we all know to wear a mask to prevent COVID, the same way we should know how to react for flooding happening,” Iglesias said.
“As a business, I wasn’t expecting to go through this. It’s atrocious. It looked like a river park.”
Iglesias was forced to close her other restaurant Corazon de Mexico in Long Island City due to the COVID-19 pandemic in January.
“We already lost one business. I need to continue doing something because the bills keep piling up,” she said.
Mayor de Blasio spoke to reporters outside of the restaurant after his visit, where he said he hopes the city and hopefully the federal government will be able to help. Additionally, he said he believes that Iglesias’ landlord should cover the cost of the burst sewer pipes.
“We’re working with her on her lease, because from what we can tell the landlord should be fixing those pipes,” the mayor said. “We don’t know this yet, not trying to excuse anyone, but on a typical lease that would be the landlord’s responsibility to keep those pipes up. So we want to make sure that cost doesn’t fall to her.”
He said he believes the city should be able to provide a $3,000 grant to the restaurant in the next three days.
The bigger issue, the mayor said, is a city-wide effort to raise kitchens and other appliances out of basements or at least off of basement floors as sea levels continue to rise and worsen instances of flooding.
“We have to figure out a strategy now to support that, encourage that and find some way to help fund it if we can,” he said. “But I think that the shape of things to come is at least reorienting some things away from basements or getting things higher up in basements.”
Iglesias said the local business community has been very supportive of each other in the wake of the storm, reaching out and keeping in touch via WhatsApp.
“Sometimes we cry. We have a WhatsApp group with one another and we are just venting,” she told The Post.
After the Mayor’s visit, she said she’s truly “hoping” that the city will be able to help in the recovery efforts. Other local politicians including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had also visited earlier, Iglesias said.
“He definitely offered a lot of solutions and things that would avoid this from happening again and certain resources and help that they will be granting us,” she said. “They’re going to see if we can recuperate at least something from what we lost.”
She hopes this should be a lesson for the city and businesses for the next storm.
“This is something that first time happened so I really never thought we’d expect this. Hopefully by the next flooding, not only my business, but the other businesses are more prepared.”
President Biden will tour storm-shattered neighborhoods in Queens Tuesday, as well as part of New Jersey.
Hochul said the price tag — which she expects to grow — qualifies New Yorkers for major federal disaster assistance, including funding for people displaced during the storm.