The tent city was a disaster for downtown Beirut businesses. There were many pedestrian-only streets and families would let their children play on the streets. The downtown was rebuilt after Lebanon's 15 year civil war ended in 1990 and it was a symbol of the country's rebirth. But the recent tension left the downtown awash in checkpoints and barbed wire. Diners and shoppers stayed away and hundreds of businesses closed. Today thousands of residents came back. at lunch today the restaurants that managed to survive were busier than they'd been since 2006, and others opened their doors for the first time in a year. Lebanese are cautiously optimistic about their new downtown and about the political stability.