Volume 16 • Issue 35 | January 30 - February 05, 2004



New businesses open in Downtown’s southwest

By Melanie Wallis

Downtown Express photo by Ramin Talaie

Rod Surut, co-owner of Romi, recently opened a bar in the Financial District, near his home in Battery Park City.

The southwest end of the Financial District is showing a few signs of development with new businesses opening or expanding.

The area, which is bordered by the World Trade Center site, the West Side Highway and includes entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, has been particularly hard hit by the 9/11 attack because it is difficult to get to on foot.

One sign of an upturn is the newly opened restaurant/cocktail lounge called Romi, at Rector and Washington Sts.

The bar, which used to be offices, opened in November after spending two years and $2 million renovating the building, said Rod Surut, one of the owners. Romi has a large two-story bar with a chic, “Tribeca style” interior and is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends offering cocktails and Mediterranean Tapas.

Surut said the bar and the nearby liquor store, which just moved into a larger space, were able to get substantially reduced rents because of the reduced foot traffic.

Nina Evans, a resident of Battery Park City, said she is delighted to see the new bar. “Its comforting to see new developments in the financial area with new businesses having confidence in the location. It has great potential to develop into a hubbub of bars and restaurants similar to Romi, there is certainly the demand with Battery Park City residents and business people.”

The owners of the bar, Surut and his brother Jeff, also own Naked Lunch restaurant in Soho. “Finally, there is something here similar to the style of bars found in places like Soho or Tribeca. We get people who want to enjoy a drink after work and residents from the B.P.C. area,” said Rod, a Battery Park City resident. From the outside, it would be easy to miss the bar or mistake it for looking closed, as the lighting is low using candlelight. “It is difficult to find Naked Lunch too, but those who want to come here will find it by word of mouth.”

Romi is named after Rod’s daughter, who attends the Battery Park City Day nursery school.

In similar style, a new liquor store has opened eight weeks ago one block over from Romi on West and Rector Sts. Kenny Samani, of West St. Wine & Spirits Outlet was in smaller premises on the same road, but moved to the larger location as he felt “hidden.” He has great confidence in the development of the Financial District and its surrounding areas like Battery Park City ,saying he thinks its one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan and has witnessed an influx of new residents moving into the luxury apartment block on 90 Washington: “It’s one of the safest areas and the neighbourhood really helps support businesses down here.”


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