There is a lot to see and do near Columbus Circle. But one of the best treasures is the basement, as soon as you step out of the metro turnstiles. Like the rest of New York, this iconic market is making a comeback.
“We really thought it would be closed. We were like, okay, we’ll try. It was so exciting that there was nothing here that said it was closed. We could look at jewelry, have bubble tea, ”said Natalie Straton of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
Of the 39 kiosks at Turnstyle Underground Market, 20 did not survive the coronavirus pandemic. Those that survived, like EZ Paella, struggled even more than most businesses because of their indoor location. Owner Alex Del Gallego opened on March 15, the day the city was closed.
“We lived off our savings. We didn’t get any loans because we opened the business right after the deadline. We didn’t qualify so it was very difficult. “But we did it,” Del Gallego said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says to help businesses thrive, they are developing a financial back-up plan, moving from a fixed rent to a percentage rent system.
“If they are successful, we will only get a percentage of their income,” said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction and Development. “And we would enforce that for the duration of the pandemic until the number of riders starts to return to normal levels.”
CORONAVIRUS: New York Department of Health | NY Call 1- (888) -364-3065 | NYC Department of Health | NYC Call 311, SMS COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Information Center | NJ Call 1- (800) -222-1222 or 211, send NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Appeal 211 | Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
This return to normal will probably take some time. On a typical weekday this station sees 240,000 passengers, but now it only sees 75,000. Still, there are new businesses with big dreams planning to move in, like Mario Vivas’ empanada store.
“Being an immigrant and coming to New York is already a huge risk and it’s a really huge challenge. There is no option. I mean, if not everyone is brave enough, then this is the opportunity to be brave, ”Vivas said.
And participate in restoring the dynamism and energy of this city.
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our all new CBS New York app. Download here.