The fuel that fires the midtown’s restaurant economy is, like electricity or natural gas, indispensable. It’s that bustling, shuffling mass we like to call tourists, and with 27 theaters currently dark thanks to a stagehand strike, the tourism machine may be poised to shudder and stop. “The strike has a huge effect on us,” bemoans Insieme chef Marco Canora. “That’s like 40 percent of our business.” Thanks to Insieme’s high repute, the place gets a good seating between pre- and post-theater, but other restaurants are even more vulnerable.
The Carnegie Deli does its bustling business largely on the strength of tourists: bus tours that get “box lunches,” post-theater crowds, and big parties. “This has just started, and we’ve already lost a party of 40 and a party of 50,” manager Sandy Levine tells us. “We don’t know yet how bad it will get. But we’re already starting to feel the crunch.” If Insieme and Carnegie are getting hurt, and the strike is only a few days old, imagine what a prolonged blackout would do to smaller restaurants. We’re hoping Hizzoner — or even just some vigilante-justice type would do — gets this mess sorted out before the teeming masses of out-of-towners start opting for different vacation plans. Otherwise? Desperate times, people.
Related: Broadway Strike Threatens Holiday Season, Businesses Worry [NYDN]