Minute to Minute NEWS!

United Nations General Assembly helps businesses rebound – Spectrum News NY1

Get the best experience and stay connected to your community with our Spectrum News app. Learn More
Continue in Browser
Get hyperlocal forecasts, radar and weather alerts.
Please enter a valid zipcode.
With congestion from the United Nations General Assembly this week comes a boost to local businesses, with thousands of people scheduled to travel into Midtown.
“You have to be ready for surprises,” said owner of Alcala Jesus Martinez.
Martinez’s has owned his restaurant for 30 years. It’s only a block away from the UN.
“I have people who come once a year from different countries and they already know me. They go, ‘Oh, I’ve been coming for ten years now. How are you doing?” Martinez said.
Those familiar faces are likely spending a lot more money than his local crowd. According to the state comptroller’s office, international visitors have a greater impact on the city’s economy.
In a 2021 report, the office said one international visitor spends the equivalent of four domestic tourists. In 2019, the average spending by an international visitor was $1,709, compared to $458 per domestic traveler.
“You have to plan up front,” said business partner at Angelleto Restaurant Austin Brahaj.
As police barricade roads and block off parking for the influx of people, the traffic can tie up profits by preventing businesses from operating.
“If you want deliveries, they’re going to be delayed. They’re not going to come on time,” Brahaj said.
Both Brahaj and Martinez say they get the most business from the UN during the lunch time. At night the attendees go back to their hotels which are also on the comeback.
According to STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company, in 2019 the Midtown hotel occupancy rate was 92.6 during the week of the summit.
The pandemic took that down roughly 30 points to 63.9 when members returned in-person in 2021.
This year, Midtown hotels have rebounded to an occupancy rate of 80.8 during the last 28 days.
Many businesses hope the latest numbers will translate to profits.
“I don’t think it’s going to be explosive, but definitely, I am very keen about seeing new faces and making sure they become old faces very quickly,” said Crave Fishbar Manager Carlos Portocarro.
Though businesses stand to profit from the delegations of the 193 nations attending the gathering, Martinez says he’s also just happy to support them knowing the work they do can have important global implications.
“We need United Nations more than ever. There’s a lot of problems in the world. So hopefully they can solve some and there will be some less,” Martinez said.