NEW YORK — Is New York City on the verge of a comeback?
Mayor Eric Adams seems to think so. He announced record demand for the tourism industry last week.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman has more on what this means for business.
You don’t need to tell New Yorkers that it has been a long two years for the city’s restaurant and entertainment industries. But with summer approaching, many in the business are cautiously optimistic that tourists are finally coming back to the Big Apple.
The Duhova family has finally made it from Slovakia to New York City for their honeymoon.
And now that they’re here, they’re hitting all the spots.
“All the main attractions — Statue of Liberty, everything New York is known for,” Duhova said.
Those tourists are not alone. Statue City Cruises, which operate ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, says its number of visitors is up to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
“As of the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we saw a higher-level surge where we saw most of our visitation really come back to levels that we haven’t seen since prior to the pandemic,” said Rafael Abreu, VP of sales and marketing for Statue City Cruises.
Mayor Adams says hotel demand has returned to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with over 760,000 rooms booked last week.
And in the same time, he says Broadway ticket sales hit the highest since theaters reopened last summer.
“It definitely has been more bodies around, so that has been exciting news for us,” said Shane Hathaway, manager of Hold Fast on Restaurant Row. “There is a cautious optimism that’s always present, but we do feel we have kind of moved past it all.”
But while nightlife and tourism are coming back, the city comptroller says office occupancy is still well below pre-pandemic levels, with office vacancies plateauing at higher rates.
“So some of the business has shifted to different neighborhoods,” said Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
Rigie says the endurance of hybrid work schedules is good for some restaurants and bad for others.
“There is definitely a lot of restaurants in more residential neighborhoods that are actually faring better in their recovery than those restaurants in say Midtown, Manhattan that relied so heavily on office workers, and they may never come back to the levels that we had pre-pandemic, so we may need to think how we redevelop and rebuild Midtown, Manhattan,” Rigie said.
Statue City Cruises says it is now in hiring mode, adding more employees in both New York and New Jersey.
But the city comptroller says job growth is still lagging in the hospitality and retail sectors.