The upcoming fashion week is the last one in Bryant Park before the event moves to Lincoln Center. And while the move will increase the space for designers to show in, it may lead to a loss in revenue for the businesses the tents leave behind. NY1's Samantha Liebman filed the following report.
According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the biannual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks generate $787.6 million for city businesses.
"We're doing eight days straight of 7 o'clock in the morning to 11 o'clock at night. Feeding designers and their folks, running a cafe in the tent," said 'wichcraft Co-founder Jeffrey Zurofsky.
The sandwich shop 'wichcraft has four kiosks in Bryant Park. Zurofsky says Fashion Week accounts for 70 percent of February sales. But this time next year, it will be a different story. Come September, the tents will set up shop in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center.
The Bryant Park Corporation, which oversees the park, felt the shows hindered the public's access and has applauded the move. But not everyone's happy. For instance, the Bryant Park Hotel has played host to approximately 20 events per Fashion Week since it opened in 2001. Management says it boosts business by about 30 percent, and they expect the move will cut that increase by half.
"I would say the hospitality suites that we've had throughout the hotel with this location across the street from the tents, we probably won't have that business," said Bryant Park Hotel Managing Director Phil Columbo.
The Empire Hotel, located across from Lincoln Center, might pick up the slack. It has plenty of rooms and venues to accommodate a portion of the 116,000 visitors the city says come to the event each year.
"As soon as the announcement was made, our phones starting ringing," said Amsterdam Hospitality Executive Vice President T. Blake Danner.
Aside from all of the changes, Columbo says he thinks some customers will still stay in his hotel. As for Zurofsky, he says 'wichcraft may make up some of the business they expect to lose from customers who use the new skating rink in Bryant Park. They'll also be able to stay open the time they had to close to accommodate the set up and break down of the tents.
"Having 70 percent of our sales removed is going to be difficult. We need to replace that for February and March of next year, and we're figuring out how to do that. September, like I said, we'll see," Zurofsky said.
Despite the blow to businesses around Bryant Park, there may be a cushion at least for 'wichcraft and the Bryant Park Hotel. The sandwich shop coincidentally opened up a new location across from Lincoln Center in December, and the hotel plans on offering free shuttle service every hour to take their guests to the tents at Lincoln Center.