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March 23, 2012
Bronx merchants: Yankees stadium hurting business
A 78-year-old liquor store near Yankee Stadium is closing as a result of poor sales and rising rent, but the more interesting part is how other local business owners feel about the new stadium's effects on local spending:
"It killed business here," said Joe Bastone, owner of the Yankee Tavern, which opened in 1923 and has served the likes of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.
"The first day the stadium opened my food business was down 75 percent," Bastone said, adding that sales have since inched up, but not to their pre-move levels, and only after he lowered prices...
Once inside the stadium, visitors can choose from 444 souvenir shops, eateries and concession stands — nearly 50 percent more options than in the old stadium. From hot dogs to Cuban sandwiches and sushi, and from pennants to pinstriped jerseys, Yankees fans can find it all without setting foot outside the stadium.
"Now it's like a mall inside," said Rashed Salahi, an employee at Stadium Souvenirs at the corner of 161st St. and River Ave.
"You don't see too many people in the street," Salahi added, "They go straight into the stadium."
If you're wondering why rents are going up when business is going down, the answer is apparently a 2009 rezoning of the 161st Street shopping strip that has so far failed to cause a sea of skyscrapers to sprout up, as promised, but has managed to convince landlords that they should be hiking rents and evicting old tenants because the neighborhood is "hot." Not that we've ever seen that before.