As if Houston Street wasn’t already a nightmare of construction and road work, a water main break turned it into a river this morning and left a chasm in the street, putting at least one storefront out of commission.
“We’re completely out of business,” said Alex Linomontes, manager of The Lobster Joint. “The restaurant is destroyed. The water main literally broke in front of us. All of our food is gone, our fridges are swamped.” The basement has collapsed and “there’s a big hole the size of a restaurant out front.”
After receiving a call around 10:30 a.m., the fire department did its best to pump the water and contacted the compromised utilities, a FDNY spokesperson said. Part of Houston Street is currently closed to pedestrians and cars as a team works on the ground to mitigate the problem.
“They’re all here,” Linomontes confirmed. “The fire department, Con Ed, construction workers. But they’re not doing much.”
On the corner of Houston and Ludlow, Jake Dell, the owner of Katz’s, described the scene to local reporters, including Bedford + Bowery. “It looked like a river out here,” he said. “It was unbelievable. The current coming down this [street], it was scary. We actually had some people that were here and we had to pull them back in because they were getting too close. It was a strong current coming down, strong current in the basement, too.”
Dell said his basement was flooded with “a couple” feet of water. “We went down there to look and there was a little trickle; about four seconds later that trickle just burst through the wall.” He reported that a crew was on the way to clean the basement’s muddy floors, and the meat at Katz’s — which is kept upstairs — wasn’t compromised. “Always save the meat,” said Dell.
There have been no injuries reported.