Times Square is getting a little bit of a boost thanks to local restaurants
Visitors are slowly returning to Times Square and the gradual increase appears to be benefitting some local restaurants in particular, the New York Post reports. It’s still too early to celebrate the development as a victory, but the Times Square Alliance, the group that oversees and promotes the area, is buoyed by the recent uptick in visitors. About 105,000 people are visiting the tourist hotspot on average daily, up from the 35,000 or so who did in March and April last year, as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the city.
The Alliance and local businesses have partly attributed that to the return of indoor dining on February 12. Greg Wetanson, who co-owns Dallas BBQ and Tony’s Di Napoli, and Jeremy Merrin, the founder of Havana Central, both reported an uptick in visitors recently. Unlike pre-pandemic times, though, many of the visitors now are either locals or from the tri-state area as the pandemic has largely brought international travel to a halt.
Business is still down overall, and even as cases and hospitalizations are rapidly declining in New York, the city is still recording thousands of new COVID-19 cases every day, and the slow supply of vaccinations has raised fears about the spread of new variants of the virus in the U.S. Many restaurants in the area have also decided not to open until Broadway resumes in some capacity, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated will happen, but has not yet provided a clear timeline. Still, local restaurants and the Alliance are taking some positives from the recent developments and believe that the increase of indoor dining capacity to 35 percent later this week will bring more customers.
In other news
— More snow is expected to hit NYC this afternoon, but it will likely last for a short period of time, and the city’s sanitation department has not yet announced a pause on roadside dining.
— The iconic Pearl River Mart has found a new home after a massive rent hike forced it out of its Tribeca flagship last year. Pearl River’s new home is located at 452 Broadway, between Howard and Grand streets, though an opening date is yet to be announced.
— Sen. Chuck Schumer got together with NYC Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie and Dirt Candy owner Amanda Cohen to renew focus on the Restaurants Act, the relief bill for the industry that is set to be part of the Biden administration’s new coronavirus relief package.
— East Village Thai spot Hub Thai is moving to a larger location just a few streets away.
— Coffee spot Madman Espresso and artisanal ice cream destination Mikey Likes It Ice Cream received the Empire Award from the New York State Senate last week for persevering and remaining open throughout the pandemic, State Sen. Brad Hoylman’s office announced.
— Pierozek in Greenpoint, which garnered a favorable review in the New York Times last year, is known for its pierogi ruskie. The menu often lists farmer’s cheese as an ingredient in the Eastern European version of dumplings, but now the restaurant has collaborated with Murray’s for a cheese pierogi ($14) brimming with Irish cheddar and potatoes with crispy bacon and chives.
— The East Village’s popular Barnyard Cheese is closed until further notice. The owner did not specify the reason, but is hopeful of reopening in the same location.