Retail chains, restaurants are leaving “unsustainable” Manhattan


Some retail chains and restaurants are leaving Manhattan for good since they see it as unsustainable, the New York Times reports. Their stores aren’t suffering as much as stores in other locales.

Could it be the communists running the city into the ground? The residents have little respect for the value of stores and capitalism.

It’s more than the virus, although nearly 33,000 people died in New York with most of them dying in Manhattan and the boroughs.

Why This Top-Grossing Restaurant Is Leaving For Good

For years, Bryant Park Grill & Cafe in Midtown Manhattan has been one of the country’s top-grossing restaurants, the star property in Ark Restaurants’ portfolio of 20 restaurants across the United States, according to the newspaper.

However, the tourists are gone, the office towers surrounding it are largely empty and the restaurant’s 1,000-seat dining room is closed. Instead, dinner is cooked and served on its patio, and the scaled-down restaurant brings in about $12,000 a day — an 85 percent plunge in revenue, its chief executive said.

Michael Weinstein, the chief executive of Ark Restaurants, who owns Bryant Park Grill & Cafe and 19 other restaurants, said he will never open another restaurant in New York.

“There’s no reason to do business in New York,” Mr. Weinstein said. “I can do the same volume in Florida in the same square feet as I would have in New York, with my expenses being much less. The idea was that branding and locations were important, but the expense of being in this city has overtaken the marketing group that says you have to be there.”

In the heart of Manhattan, national chains including J.C. Penney, Kate Spade, Subway and Le Pain Quotidien have shuttered branches for good. Many other large brands, like Victoria’s Secret and the Gap, have their kept high-profile locations closed in Manhattan while reopening in other states.

Many stores are still closed, some permanently, while those that are open have very little foot traffic.

“In the prime real estate areas, all the stores rely on having half international tourists and half local tourists or those from the local neighborhoods,” said Thiago Hueb, a founder of a jewelry company who had decided to close his flagship store on Madison Avenue before the pandemic struck because of high rents.

Now brokers are calling him trying to lure him back to the block, but Mr. Hueb, whose jewelry is sold in 80 department stores nationwide, is not interested.

“The avenue is no longer what it used to be,” he said.

The Malls Are No Longer What They Use to Be Either

J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, the anchor tenants at two of the largest malls in Manhattan, recently filed for bankruptcy and announced that they would shutter those locations.

Some popular chains, like Shake Shack and Chipotle, report that their stores in New York were performing worse than others.

A few dozen Subway locations have closed in New York City in recent months. Le Pain Quotidien has permanently closed several of its 27 stores in the city. They plan to leave others closed until more people return to the streets, said Andrew Stern, co-chief executive of the chain’s parent, Aurify Brands.

A Gap Store near Rockefeller Center has stayed closed. They have not paid its $264,000 monthly rent. Two T.G.I. Friday’s in prime locations, one near Rockefeller Center and another in Times Square, have remained closed. Its restaurants elsewhere in the country have reopened.

Landlords have started filing lawsuits against commercial tenants for not paying rent. They accuse some national brands of trying to take advantage of the crisis.

Veggie Grill, a California-based chain of 35 restaurants, reports New York is “the most difficult market for us to operate in right now.”

He just opened in Manhattan and will attempt to stay with others. Not everyone is leaving. But it will be a long time — if ever — before the city returns to its former glory. One big thing would have to change — the mayor and the city council. They are proof that communism doesn’t work. The hard left doesn’t appreciate the building owners or the retail stores or the restaurants and used them like ATMs. They handled the virus poorly. The rulers of Manhattan left stores open too long and then refused to open them when the curve was flattened.

The comments on the NY Times article aren’t very enlightened. Some of the responders think this is a good thing.

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