World-famous Katz’s Delicatessen remains open for business following a water main break right in front of it at the intersection of E. Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side on Thursday morning.
The break is reported to have taken place took shortly before 11 a.m., and all lanes of East Houston Street were closed in both directions between Allen and Essex Streets.
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management issued an alert at 11:45 AM, warning drivers to expect road closures, traffic delays, and emergency personnel in the area, and to consider taking alternate routes. There was no response from OEM to a request for further information on the situation.
“The water main burst right in front of us,” Jake Dell, a fifth generation owner of Katz’s Deli told the Forward. The street had apparently completely collapsed, leaving a huge sinkhole.
“Our basement is flooded, as are probably the basements of all the other buildings on the block,” Dell said. “But upstairs is okay and we are open for business.”
The flooding in the basement destroyed everything that had been stored there. “All our dry goods are destroyed, so we won’t be able to make more of certain menu items once they run out,” he explained. “We won’t be able to make any more of our soups, because we don’t have any water.”
Dell, his staff, and Katz’s customers are not going to let the flood get in the way of serving and eating a good pastrami sandwich. The situation is certainly no worse than when the restaurant was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Despite a major power outage and difficulty in accessing supplies, Katz’s stayed open. The kitchen operated on a generator, and customers ate by candlelight.
“A little bit of water never hurt anyone,” said Dell this morning, as water rushed down the street and sidewalk in front of his deli.