Restaurant Week Makes a Comeback

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It’s Tuesday.

Weather: Hazy sun, with a high in the upper 80s.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended through tomorrow for Eid al-Adha.

The Covid-19 pandemic devastated the city’s hospitality industry last year, but this summer, New York City Restaurant Week has returned in full force.

More than 500 restaurants across all five boroughs are participating in this year’s program, led by NYC & Company, which will run for five weeks, not one, from this week until Aug. 22.

“It is so important to support the hard-hit dining industry as our city continues to recover, and this summer, NYC Restaurant Week provides five weeks of opportunity to do so,” Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, said in a statement.

This year’s program hopes to provide some much-needed relief for the city’s food industry. According to Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, 65 percent of the city’s restaurants that applied for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund were unable to get money.

The industry is “cautiously optimistic, but also fearful and frustrated,” Mr. Rigie said in an interview. “We can’t let the optics of some busy restaurants and bars distract from the reality that many are truly struggling and unsure of how they’ll recover if the federal government doesn’t replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.”

[Read about how some independent restaurant workers are unionizing as their cities reopen.]

The pandemic losses

The City reported that thousands of new restaurant jobs have been created in recent months. When outdoor dining began in June last year, Mr. Rigie said, about 100,000 people were hired back.

But according to Mr. Rigie, as of June this year, the city’s restaurants and bars are still more than 120,000 jobs short of prepandemic employment levels. And not all of them are at 100 percent capacity, he said, with many operating with limited staff or shorter hours.

A program to restore the industry

Each participating restaurant will offer special lunch and dinner menus for $21 or $39, and some higher-end places will offer three or more courses for $125. You can check out the full list of participating restaurants and their special menus here.

Despite lingering worries, Mr. Rigie said, participating restaurant owners are eager to bring in new customers and motivate New Yorkers to support their local businesses.

“There’s not one policy or promotion that’s going to restore the restaurant industry,” Mr. Rigie said. “It’s going to be a combination of policies, and Restaurant Week is one program to help.”

From The Times

De Blasio Says He Won’t Mandate Masks to Fight Delta Variant

Ex-Student Charged After Putting Hitler Quotation in Yearbook, Police Say

She Hates Biden. Some of Her Neighbors Hate the Way She Shows It.

‘Game Over’: Food Carts Adjust to a Changed City

A City Stirs

As N.Y.C. begins its post-pandemic life, we explore Covid’s long-lasting impact on the city.

    • The Economy: New York’s prosperity is heavily dependent on patterns of work and travel that may have been irreversibly altered.
    • The Epicenter: The neighborhoods in Queens where Covid hit the hardest are buzzing again with activity. But recovery feels far away.
    • Dive Deeper: See all our stories about the reopening of N.Y.C.

    Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

    The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

    What we’re reading

    An 18-year-old flying a plane that was pulling a banner made an emergency landing in the middle of a busy Jersey Shore bridge. [NBC New York]

    Two brothers from Long Island have been identified as victims in the deadly Florida condo collapse. [New York Post]

    Eric Adams said he may split his time between Gracie Mansion and Brooklyn if he is elected mayor. [Gothamist]

    And finally: The Cherry Lane Theater sells for $11 million

    The Times’ Sarah Bahr reports:

    The Cherry Lane Theater, the oldest continuously running Off Broadway theater in New York City, has been sold to the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation for $11 million, the theater announced on Monday.

    “It has been a great run,” Angelina Fiordellisi, the executive director of the theater, said in a statement. “To stand on the stage where so many of our greatest artists, crews and theater providers have stood is to know what theater history feels like.”

    The new owner will be the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation, which is a few blocks from the Cherry Lane Theater on Christopher Street and has managed the building for the past decade. The sale includes the 179-seat main stage and a 60-seat studio theater.

    Fiordellisi, who has led the 97-year-old nonprofit Cherry Lane Theater since acquiring the building in 1996, will continue to lead the nonprofit producing group Cherry Lane Alternative, which will have readings — and possibly productions — in the theater’s studio space.

    She had previously announced plans to sell the building, at 38 Commerce Street, in 2010, citing financial struggles. At the time, she told The New York Times that the theater was operating at a deficit of $250,000, which she attributed to a steep drop in income from government and foundation support, ticket sales and rental fees.

    But eight months later, she reversed her decision because of a significantly reduced deficit, a new managing agent and the support of the theater’s neighbors. Cherry Lane Alternative, the resident theater company Fiordellisi established in 1997, currently has a deficit of $100,000, a spokesman for the theater, Sam Rudy, said.

    The Cherry Lane, a Greenwich Village institution that has long been a testing ground for new work by emerging artists, reopened at full capacity last month with Jacqueline Novak’s “Get on Your Knees,” a comedy that offers a personal and intellectual history of oral sex. It is scheduled to run through July 31.

    It’s Tuesday — take a bow.

    Metropolitan Diary: Quick cut

    Dear Diary:

    I was at a barbershop in Midtown. It had a sign on the door that said it did “express” haircuts.

    An older man entered, described how he wanted his hair cut and immediately fell asleep in the chair.

    Fifteen minutes later, the sound of the hair dryer woke him up.

    “That was fast indeed,” he said.

    — Sergii Pershyn

    Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.

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