Shops near Yankee Stadium fear for future without fans in the stands
Major League Baseball is gearing up to play ball come July 23, and struggling shops near the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx are expressing their concerns about business.
Some are trying to bounce back now that MLB is scheduled to begin. But because of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, no fans will be in the seats.
Michael Redino owns Yankee Tavern, the oldest establishment of the mom and pop shops near the stadium. Redino says his business has lost about $300,000 in revenue.
Since March, the rows of baseball souvenir shops and sports bars on River Avenue have been closed.
Redino says that without fans in the stands, it’s definitely a strikeout for shops.
“It doesn't help us financially at all because there will be no fans. It might not be worth it for us to open with outside dining only. It's not going to be profitable, there's too much risk, there's too much liability,” said Redino.
Dr. Cary Goodman, the executive of the 161st Street Business Improvement District, sent a letter asking the city to renegotiate the Yankee lease deal of the 1.3 million-square-foot property.
He says the baseball franchise pays $1 million a year in rent, which was brokered under the Bloomberg administration.
On average, shop owners owe back rent upward of $75,000. Goodman says if the city or the stadium doesn’t step in, the once vibrant business strip could become a ghost town.