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October 28, 2009
Rain good for Yanks eateries; Yanks eateries bad for Bronx neighbors
While baseball fans await a rain-drenched opening game of the World Series — though Jay-Z was postponed, the TV schedule won't let the games stop for mere weather — rest easy that at least somebody will be happy if it pours:
David Miller, chief operating officer of NYY Steak, the high-end chop house at Yankee Stadium, couldn't be happier with the dreary forecast.
"Rain and cold drive up business at the restaurant by at least 20%," he said. The eatery, open year-round, was already one third full by 2:30 Wednesday afternoon.
Crain's New York further notes that during last week's playoff games between the Yankees and the Angels, the steakhouse was almost empty during games as "fans stayed in their seats to watch the game instead of watching it on television screens in the restaurant." Clearly the Yanks need to play less exciting games — or, failing that, make it more unpleasant to watch the game from the seats. Not that they're not trying hard on that already.
Meanwhile, all that spending at the steakhouse and the other stadium eateries isn't doing much for local businesses, who complain that between the economy, competition from all the new in-stadium shopping, and the relocation of the stadium farther from much of the busiest shopping strip, their business is down dramatically:
"We had high expectations with the new stadium and everything," said Concourse Card Shop manager Nicolas Castillo. But so far? It's "a lot worse," he said, with business down more than 50 percent.
At Yankee Tavern, where the floor is tiled to look like Yankee pinstripes, business is off about 20 percent, said owner Joe Bastone.
This, of course, was the whole point of building a new stadium — to bring fan spending inside the gates, so that all those dollars would pass through team hands — something that was recognized at the time by local merchants, who largely opposed the building of the new stadium. The one bright spot in the WCBS-TV report: Bastone says that over the course of the season, his receipts have gradually increased, presumably as the novelty of the in-stadium food vendors (and their sky-high prices) wears off.
UPDATE: WNYC-FM has a similar report on 161st Street merchants. Best line: "Yankee fan George Figueroa says he forgets he's at a ballpark. 'You walk around and it's like you're not even in a game. It's like you're in a mall.'" That's gotta be music to David Miller's ears...