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Family-Owned Butcher Shop Celebrates Reopening After Sandy

By Katie Honan | October 22, 2013 3:54pm
  Curran's Superior Meats reopened in June, but the city celebrated the "ribbon cutting" on Oct. 21.
Curran's Superior Meats Reopens
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ROCKAWAY PARK — A decades old butcher shop that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy celebrated its reopening Monday at a new address on Beach 116th Street — as part of a celebration of businesses that were fixed up through a pilot program to fix commercial districts in the city.

Curran's Superior Meats, on Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, was one of 15 businesses that received external makeovers thanks to a partnership between Citi and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

Curran's officially opened in June in a new storefront on the commercial strip in Rockaway Park, half a mile from where it had served up its famous Kansas City Steak and chicken burgers for more than five decades in Belle Harbor.

After the storm, the owner of a building on the street, Nancy Erigo, 40, connected with the butchers on Facebook about bringing their goods to one of her vacant storefronts.

Erigo said she was interested in it for her own personal reasons: Her kids missed the store's chicken nuggets.

They moved in months later to a commercial strip considered to be a hub on the peninsula.

"We're totally blessed to be on Beach 116th and come back again to represent the Rockaway community," said Tom Murphy, 52, who's worked at Curran's for 30 years.

The Beach 116th Street Partnership, which sponsored the new storefront program, was formed after the hurricane to cope with the flood damage on the block.

Since the storm, 15 storefronts on the block have received new signage, and 11 more stores areawaiting a revamp, a spokeswoman for the SBS said.

But the revamp — and financial support from both public and private groups — was needed even before the hurricane made landfall, organizers said.

Stores could apply for some of the $500,000 in funds provided through the revamp program — and a spokeswoman from Small Business Services said the program has been expanded to other Sandy-impacted neighborhoods across the city, including Midland Beach and Red Hook.

Eileen Auld, the regional director of Citi Community Development, said helping out the businesses in Rockaway was especially important to the company because of their large presence in Queens, including 5,000 employees working at the Citigroup building in Long Island City.

They recognized the importance of helping many of the small business owners impacted the storm, she said.

"Many of the business owners lost their homes, too," Auld said.

Curran's reps said they had one of their best quarters ever since reopening in the new location.

And loyal customers like Pearl Ribet, 89, who's lived in Rockaway and shopped at the store for 50 years, said they'd follow the store anywhere. 

She said she especially missed the ground beef mix and the chicken cutlets.

"It's a pleasure to see the store open after the storm," she said.