There’s always been a close relationship between adjacent neighborhoods Chinatown and Little Italy. One of the most visible demonstrations of these ties occurs during the East Meets West Christmas Parade (Dec. 22 this year), a joint celebration that’s taken place during the past several years. This year, however, groups in the two communities are trying to form even closer bonds — in an effort to save local businesses struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Ralph Tramontana, head of the Little Italy Merchants’ Association, told us this morning he fears up to 30% of the small shops and restaurants in the two neighborhoods could be forced to shutter by early spring. At his own business, Sambuca’s Cafe on Mulberry Street, Tramontana estimated losses from spoiled food could total $20,000. Given the very small profit margins at most Little Italy and Chinatown restaurants, he said, “it’s very tough to pay a month’s worth of bills with a week’s worth of business.”