Tags: From | Brokers | Broadway | NYC | Economy | Reels

From Brokers to Broadway, NYC Economy Reels

Wednesday, 19 September 2001 12:00 AM

The economic impact on the nation's largest city after the September 11 terrorist attack, which reduced the World Trade Center to rubble, has the potential to financially crash many aspects of the city's economy.

Brokerage houses lost in the attack are looking for new office space in neighboring states; once popular Broadway shows are on the verge of closing; airlines with hubs in the region are facing major layoffs; and tourism, a mainstay of New York's economy, is also on the ropes with city officials predicting little improvement in the near term.

Transportation is a key issue in and around New York City. A large section of Lower Manhattan is expected to remain closed for months while the debris of the collapsed buildings at the World Trade Center is collected, inspected and hauled away.

Compounding the inaccessibility around Lower Manhattan is the continued closure of two key tunnels along with the Brooklyn Bridge, seriously clogging vehicular travel between Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Continental Airlines, which saw it's stock value sliced in half on Monday, announced a layoff of 12,000 workers. Newark, N.J. is one of their largest hubs.

There are reports that the airline industry is bracing for layoffs that could reach 100,000, and with three major airports in the New York area, the impact on joblessness is expected to be significant.

"If these cuts happen, they're going to be the result of terrorist acts, and we would look to Congress to take some sort of action to support these workers," said Jeff Zack, a spokesman for the Association of Flight Attendants. Congress is considering an airline bailout of up to $24 billion.

"All aspects of the aviation industry are being looked at," according to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

"There is no question the airline industry has suffered severe financial damage," said Leo Mullin, CEO of Delta Airlines at a joint news conference with Mineta. "We are in desperate need of a financial infusion very quickly."

The lights on Broadway will be dimming as well, as officials with four shows announced Tuesday they may close by the end of the week.

The stage productions of "Stones in His Pockets," "The Rocky Horror Show," "A Thousand Clowns" and "If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You," reported significant losses from last week.

Two other long-running and well-known shows, "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables," may also be forced to close within two weeks unless measures are taken to reduce their weekly running costs, according to theater officials.

The theater industry reported that "Les Miserables" took in $95,000 last week, more than $200,000 below its running cost. The production of "Aida," the hit Disney show that usually grosses $800,000, took in just $250,000.

Theater operators lost two days of performances as a direct result of the attack, including Matinee Wednesday, and problems with transportation and apprehension by potential theatergoers compounded the losses.

Producers said they are planning to meet with theater unions and owners to hammer out a plan to shore up their industry.

Proposals have included reducing the number of performances each week from eight to six, and 70 percent across-the-board salary cuts at all shows, officials said.

Along with Broadway, restaurants are also expected to suffer, and many restaurateurs fear businesses will be forced to close due to lack of patronage.

"Restaurants will be impacted," said Giuliani. "We will do everything we can to help them. The SBA have opened two offices in Manhattan, and FEMA will be here to help."

A spokesperson for Marriott Hotels, whose five-star hotel at the World Trade Center was destroyed September 11, said losses for all New York City hotels will be "staggering."

The loss of the World Trade Center also means the loss of millions of square feet of office space, and business that used to have offices in the twin towers are now looking for a new place to hang their shingles.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) met Tuesday afternoon with the Real Estate Board of New York today to collect information on available office space. The Real Estate Board will help businesses find temporary space.

The World Trade Center was the home to 14 million square feet of office space. In addition, due to the closure of other buildings, another estimated 10 million square feet of space is not usable.

Schumer said more than 14,000 businesses are either temporarily or permanently displaced, and he fears that "businesses who set up temporary offices outside the city might not come back."

A number of brokerage firms formerly located in the World Trade Center have already moved to New Jersey, and American Express has signed a lease for office space in Stamford, Connecticut. Other firms are also scouting sites in New Jersey, on Long Island, and elsewhere, according to company officials.

Copyright 2001

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The economic impact on the nation's largest city after the September 11 terrorist attack, which reduced the World Trade Center to rubble, has the potential to financially crash many aspects of the city's economy. Brokerage houses lost in the attack are looking for new...
Wednesday, 19 September 2001 12:00 AM
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