Three days into the Broadway stagehands' strike, which has forced over two dozen productions to shut down, restaurants and other small businesses that depend on traffic from the theater-going crowd are reeling.
Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Business Improvement District, estimated that the strike is costing local businesses up to $17 million per day. "For the restaurants and parking lots, the impact of the strike is immediate and powerful because you have anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 customers who just aren't there," said Tompkins, adding that there are almost 200 restaurants in the neighborhood.
At Sardi's Restaurant, a Theater District institution, business decreased by about 50 percent over the weekend, according to dining room manager Sean Ricketts. "We're approaching it day-by-day," he said. "Hopefully, this week they will sit down and be able to settle the dispute."
And Craig Coursey, general manager of Theatre Circle gift shop, expects the financial damage to worsen if the strike persists. "Particularly with daytrips, people who would come into the city to see a show and shop might not come," he said.
In the mean time, the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce will help promote its struggling members by offering extra marketing. "In every which way that we can, we will help guide them through," said Helana Natt, the chamber's executive director. "It's devastating."