Hurricane Sandy

The scariest day of the year came 48 hours early for the people of New York City. Hurricane Sandy left a ghoulish imprint on the city’s five boroughs, still crippled on Halloween by flooding and debris during a two-day storm that killed 19 New Yorkers and caused an estimated $20 billion in damage here.

On Tuesday, Michelle Tampakis, owner of Whipped Pastry Boutique in Brooklyn, delivered 28 dozen gluten-free muffins with her daughter to two shelters in their neighborhood. A wholesale customer had canceled a big order from her bakery because the subway wouldn’t be running for days.

“The wind was very severe Monday, and the roads were deserted,” says Tampakis, who’d planned to start baking in November at a new facility in Red Hook, a south Brooklyn neighborhood, adjacent to the East River, flooded by the storm. “Now, it looks like I’m not going to be baking there for a while.”

Leske’s Bakery, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge, used Facebook to communicate with its 5,000 loyal fans and conducted a special promotion to help lighten the tense mood.

The bakery posted the following Facebook message: “Stuck at home in Bay Ridge? Come visit us, or leave a comment below. The four best answers get a free blackout cake after Sandy leaves.”

Harry Hawk, Leske’s manager, says they received 50 responses and will pick the four winners on Thursday. “There’s nothing life-saving about a cake, but it is something to lift your spirits,” he says.

Leske’s stayed open until 3 p.m. Monday, but had to close five hours early because of Hurricane Sandy. The bakery reopened on Wednesday, Halloween, typically one of their top selling days of the year.

“We’ve got all our Halloween products out,” Hawk says, “but Halloween is more or less cancelled. We’ll see what happens.”