Sandy Disaster Assistance Appeal for Thai Rock and Uninsured Rockaway Businesses

Dear Friend,

This is Robert, owner of Thai Rock, a mom and pop restaurant, mine and my wife’s dream, opened in June 2010 and located in Rockaway Beach, NY.  I believe we are a good example of a small business, the type politicians refer to.  During our busy season, we employ 40 or more people and this summer coming, I am hoping our employment ranks will grow even more.  That’s 40 families that put food on their tables because of Thai Rock and we all need your help.  The restaurant was devastated from the wrath of hurricane Sandy on Oct 29th & 30th 2012.  The entire restaurant needs to be gutted and replaced along with the replacement of all the coolers, draft system, ice machine, ovens, and practically all other equipment, food stock, computers and practically everything else in the restaurant.

Cooking Area After Sand

Server Pickup Area After Sand

It was very challenging getting our doors open in 2010, we put everything we had into this business and more.  We struggled a great deal in our first year to keep our doors open.  This, our 2nd summer, we ran better, got a handle on many issues and overall enjoyed the business more.  We have made excellent and lasting inroads in connecting with our beautiful community, now devastated by hurricane Sandy, and we’ve forged amazing bonds and made great friends since opening.

Every charity that knocked on our door we supported, and now, the table is turned, and I am asking for support to help us and others rebuild.

We, along with the great majority of business here, had no flood insurance.  I hope there will be FEMA and other government support, but, as I understand it, any government support we do receive will be loan based and likely not enough to get through all the expenses while creating added financial pressures.

If you can find it in your heart and wallet to help a small business overcome a natural disaster, I promise your contribution will be well used and I will not take more money than I need to re-open my business.  Any excess monies will go directly to other devastated business here in the Rockaways.  I will provide progress reports that will include photos, status and contribution distributions.  If enough monies are raised, I will provide voting capabilities for you, the contributor, to help select which other business to support.

No contribution is too small and I would be most appreciative if you would pass this on to anyone who would be willing to help.

This is a sincere and earnest request for help.  You can validate our business credentials at the New York Times, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, City Search, Yelp, Google, Urban Spoon, TimeOut, Grub Street, Trip Advisor, All Menus, Dun and Bradstreet and many other reputable sources.


Please contact me directly with any questions. At present, power and Internet service is very limited as I have power only though the use of a generator for which gas is almost impossible to get.

Thank you from the entire Thai Rock Family and be well,
Robert Kaskel
Owner, Thai Rock

Thai Rock Staff


  1. Dennis P. McGrath says:

    Will we get a receipt?  Is this donation tax deductible? Are you a registered charity?  Is this legal?

    • Thai Rock says:

      Hello Dennis,

      Thank you for the inquiry.  Here are the answers to your questions:

      1. Will we get a receipt?  Yes
      2. Is this donation tax deductible? No
      3. Are you a registered charity? No, we are a business trying to pick up the pieces
      4. Is this legal? Yes

      Businesses are especially hard hit because the assistance being offered are loans and the cost to recover from Sandy, for many business, Thai Rock included, is equivalent to starting up a brand new business plus the costs of cleanup and demolition.  My entire restaurant needs to be demolished down to the studs, floors removed, equipment and food stock thrown out and then all repurchased and rebuilt.  It’s a bit daunting for me.  Needless to say, compounding my own business issues is no income for my household until my business gets up and running.

      There are a lot of hard it people out here and not only are we trying to recover ourselves, but we are doing the best we can for everyone around us.  We have become a center for many of our staff and friends.  We offer food, drink and comfort to anyone that comes by, from morning to late night.  We all need a little support, friendship and company.  We are all hurting, we’ve all lost much and we need each other.

      My goal is to get Thai Rock on its feet as fast as possible and then help as many local business get back on theirs.  We have already made small steps towards the larger goal by meeting with representatives of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp, Senator Smith, John Legend, Queens Economic Development Corp and other important groups and individuals.  The first, of what will be many Rockaway fundraisers that I will be involved with, is scheduled for Sunday, Dec 2nd at K.J. Farrell’s in Bellmore, NY.  Proceeds from this event will go to local charitable organizations and directly distributed to the people who need it and all contributions will be tax deductible.  I will send out complete information on the event after all the plans are final.

      Thank you for your interest and be well,
      Robert :~)

  2. sean says:

    Robert, this is Sean from the Marina. I’m so sorry to hear about Thai rock. I would like to help u with manpower and artistc input in the coming months. You really should check out the website called kickstarter. It’s incredibly effective at raising money for various causes. Best of luck. I’ll stop by soon to lend a hand. Best, Sean

  3. Debbie Frimet says:

    Robert and Tukta we wish we could be there to help.  But since we can't we will be making a donation. We love you guys.  Our thoughts are with you. Please continue to keep us posted.
    Love your sister, brother – in – law and your nieces 

  4. Robert, 
    I'm so sorry to read about what happy to your amazing place. Thai Rock is a staple of the Rockaways. I'm keep you in my prayers. I hope FEMA will help you rebuild your amazing venue! All the Best! 

  5. i want to contribute and i will.
    i'm a huge fan of thai rock (and the nearby ART marina), even though i've only been a handful of times.
    is there any chance that you are willing to consider rebuilding in a way that PLANS on this happening again? After all, it's probably a matter of when and not if. What would it look like if you figure this is going to happen every year?

    i agree wtih post from your neighbor at the markina… put your appeal on Kickstarter, and go for broke… eco, floodproof, geo-thermal, organic, green, cutting edge, self composting… you got nothing to lose (or everything, but that's the point?)

    • Thai Rock says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your support.  I love the floating home concept.  We have an expert architect in this field coming here for a week on this exact issue, that is, how to make the building sustainable and not just from flooding and rising sea levels, but also from winds, loss of services and the cold.
      My most immediate issue is to get Thai Rock up, there are two pressing reasons for this:

      1. Both for personal reasons and for the Rockaways, commerce has to be restored and the faster the better.
      2. I want to help and advocate for the Rockaways more broadly and I need to free up myself from these most immediate and acute Thai Rock and personal housing matters.

      Regarding the mitigation of potential future flooding, while today we are not ready to turn Thai Rock into a floating building we are taking steps to make the new interior impervious to sea water damage.
      Great comment, thank you and be well,
      Robert :~)

  6. Yevgeniy says:

    I am sorry to hear and see that you've been hit. I am in the same boat as you. My house is on beach 101st and my first floor is gone and I am a small business owner with a lot of inventory destroyed in the flood. 
    I would like to help with whatever limited financial means I can spare and possibly with advice. I have worked in micro-finance and I have contacts in the new york micro finance industry. 
    For example did you know that there's a loan program available for businesses in zone a offered by NYBDC with a 5-7 day turnaround, a 1% interest rate, 2 year term and no payments or interest for the first 6 months. I can send you the application and connect you with a great guy who is helpin me through their process at NYC Business Solutions. They don't offer much (25k is the limit) but there are other programs that I point you toward other than SBA that I am sure you know of.
    This would allow you to get some cash quickly and get started on the work you need to do.
    You can email me at evgenijm at fusemail dot com and I trully hope you can reopen so I can once again enjoy a beer on your deck during a hot summer day. This would trully be a sign for me that the Rockaways can rise one again considering how bleak things look right now.

    • Thai Rock says:

      Hi Eugene,

      Thank you for this information.  I am following up with the NYBDC and the SBA.  Let’s discuss micro financing at your convenience; it’s a topic I have been interested in for many years.

      Be well,

      Robert :~)

  7. thanks for the reply robert.
    when you rebuild consider an additional bungalow loft or air  b&b space above the restaurant that can be rented out for an overnight after dinner, instead of our having to return to manhattan right away (i realize this type of fantasy is the last thing on your might right now).
    yes, i love the idea of building the place of materials that can flood and then dry without having to trash the walls and floors each time… impervious as you say. Also maybe having a tight shipping container on a barge where all restaurant gear could be stowed — so if not a floating restaurant at least floating storage? And of course the kitchen will need to be designed to be quick-release — anything that can't take water — electronic and eletric things.  Hang in there. 
    Don't forget kickstarter idea.

  8. Nicolas S (intuit QBO) says:

    You may also look into this site…. it has great tools for fundraising ….   hope you get restaraunt back up and running soon.

  9. Robert,
    It is nice to hear that you have started rebuilding Thai Rock. The process of dealing with insurance companies and government agencies in the aftermath of Sandy has been frustrating to say the least for homeowners like myself and I imagine it is even more so for a business owner like yourself. I hope you were able to get REAL assisstance from SBA, NYBDC or anyone else instead of just empty words and promisses that are not being delivered on.
    Having moved back to the Rockaways after a month and a half of being without our own roof over our heads I am personally happy and sad at the same time. I am happy to be back, even though the first floor of my home is still being rebuilt, I am happy to see many of our local businesses reopening, but I am sad to see so many people move away from the area for good. Our neck of the woods is too empty these days.
    I hope this changes, I hope our boardwalk and beach gets rebuilt and is better than it ever was, I hope we get an influx of fresh blood, eager to make the rockaways the awesome place to live and I hope to stop by your restaurant with my family for a dinner as soon as you reopen (hopefully sooner than later)!
    Happy holidays to you and your family!

  10. Carl says:

    Hi Robert, 
    I am really sorry to hear how hard hit you were by Hurricane Sandy. I would like to make a contribution to you in the form of manpower and locks that you will inevitably need to secure your business.
    please give me a call ASAP,  or swing by the store 19-14 Mott ave, far Rockaway ny 11691
    Carl (locksmith/contractor)

    • Thai Rock says:

      Hi Carl,

      This is very kind of you, thank you.  I will be in touch with you soon.

      Friends, Carl is the owner of Eazy Locks at 19.14 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, telephone (718) 327-7770.

      They always have a great selection of locks and hardware and Carl will see that anything you need installed, he will get installed for you.  We have great services and many hard working people here in the Rockaways, let’s keep them in mind when making purchaing and service choices.

      Be well,
      Robert :~)

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