NEW YORK -- As
this citys first transit strike in 25 years hit last week, New York
hotels made up for what they lost in cancellations with corporate
blocks of bookings for commuters who stayed in the city.
and retailers were not so fortunate.
When youre on the
street ... you may not feel the power of the strike, but just look
in the restaurants, Cristyne Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC
& Co., the citys tourism marketing association, told
TravelWeekly.com. Theyre half-full. You can see as you walk by. The
retail establishments are empty.
It was unclear
last week how long the transit strike would last -- but according
to several tourism-related executives, damage to some businesses
has already been done.
The effect on
restaurants was severe, according to Chuck Hunt, executive vice
president of the New York office of the New York State Restaurant
Association. Restaurants are lacking
customers, employees and deliveries, he said.
particularly at this time of year when restaurants are very busy.
Many have ordered food that they may have to discard after several
Joseph Spinnato, president of the Hotel Association of New York
City, the strikes effect on hotels was blunted because the guests
were already in the city. And with guests staying closer to the
hotels than usual, hotel restaurants also fared well. Our main
concern is the week between Christmas and New Years, Spinnato said.
Its one of the heaviest weeks for hotels.
Between Dec. 15
and 28 the city normally experiences a shift from long-haul
travelers to day-trippers, Nicholas said.
however, theyre staying home because they rely on the commuter
New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg estimated that the city would lose $400 million
in economic activity the first day of the strike and $300 million a
day each subsequent weekday. If the strike were to be extended,
Spinnato said, Those who want to come are going to come. But will
it have a chilling effect on some people? Probably yes.
The New York
transit strike might have derailed a few travelers who found it
difficult to get around the city without its subway system -- but
it didnt stop one 20-year veteran employee at the InterContinental
Barclay in Midtown Manhattan, who came in as usual from his home in
the Poconos in northeastern Pennsylvania.
I said, How do
you do that? recalled Leland Lewis, the hotels general manager. He
said he got up at 2 a.m. to catch a bus.
who operate the citys trains and buses had originally threatened to
strike earlier this month, which spurred many hotels to put
contingency plans in place. Those plans apparently paid off when
the workers actually struck in the early hours of Dec.
prepared for a strike
Marriott International has about 2,000 employees in 11 hotels in
New York. Practically all of the employees on the morning shift
showed up for work, said Kathleen Duffy, director of public
relations for Marriotts New York hotels.
Even if there
werent a strike, we would normally see a slight dip in business
toward [Christmas Day], she said.
operations have been impacted. For instance, passenger cars
carrying less than four people are not permitted in the city during
weekday morning rush hours during the strike. Consequently, empty
hotel vans transporting guest to the airports had difficulty
returning to the city. Deliveries were stymied, as well.
hotels believed they got through the first days of the strike
People are ...
more in the know of what to expect, said InterContinentals
the reporters who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell
at [email protected] or Michael Milligan at [email protected].