Restaurants and bars in several neighborhoods participating in New York City’s Open Streets program rebounded at more dramatic rates than others during the first year-and-a-half of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report out Tuesday.
The report from the city’s Department of Transportation found that four Open Street corridors — where car traffic was restricted during designated times in Astoria, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Manhattan’s Koreatown — outperformed their pre-pandemic business in the first 18 months after the arrival of COVID-19.
A fifth stretch in Chinatown was the only one of the five corridors that saw a decrease in sales during that period: 8%. But the report notes that it saw a smaller decline than the rest of the borough, with Manhattan seeing a 22% decline on average and a 31% dip for establishments along a “control corridor,” a nearby location without restrictions from Open Streets.
“Cars don’t shop or dine out. People do,” said Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez at a Tuesday press conference in Chinatown, adding that the Open Streets program is here to stay.
Throughout the city, restaurants and bars along Open Streets corridors saw an average 19% increase in sales compared to their own pre-pandemic levels. Nearby control streets saw a decline of 29%.
The report based its Open Streets findings on taxable sales reported to the Department of Finance from March 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021. The biggest winner of the program appeared to be Astoria: businesses saw a 44% increase in taxable