By MEGHAN BARR
NEW YORK (AP) - The historic cobblestone streets and 19th-century mercantile buildings near the water's edge in lower Manhattan are eerily deserted. It's a neighborhood silenced by Superstorm Sandy.
Just blocks from the tall-masted ships that rise above South Street Seaport, the windows of narrow brick apartment buildings are still crisscrossed with masking tape left by their owners before the storm. Store interiors are stripped down to plywood and wiring. Restaurants are chained shut, frozen in time, saddled with electrical systems that were ruined by several feet of salt water that raced up from the East River and through their front doors.
Nearly four months after the storm, roughly 85% of small businesses near the South Street Seaport are still boarded up. It could be months before some reopen, while others may never return.