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Retailers Struggle to Stay Open Within NYC Subway

New York City Commuter

Retailers operating within the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority system continue to face difficulties staying in operation, as fewer people commute to work, reports The New York Times.

Of the 195 retail spots available in NYC subway stations, only 54 are in operation, according to MTA. At Manhattan's busy Columbus Circle station, only one of the 40 shops that opened with the launch of its Turnstyle Underground Market food hall eight years ago is still in operation, according to the report.

In 2023, the MTA collected roughly $53 million in retail revenue, down from the $72 million collected in 2019, according to the MTA. The decreased business from these retailers began with the pandemic but continues to persist alongside remote and hybrid work.

“In the world of the New York City subway system, show me one person killing a lot of time,” said Marshal Cohen, retail analyst at market insights firm Circana. “Am I going to stop in the middle of my commute to try on a $200 pair of sunglasses?”

Louis Termini, owner of Ignazio’s, a pizzeria in Dumbo opened a restaurant in the Columbus Circle station in 2018 after learning that as many as 80,000 consumers could walk by daily. He debuted opposite Starbucks and Dylan’s Candy Bar. Since then, all three stores have closed.

Termini said he lost $300,000 in the deal, adding that commuters simply didn’t stop in.

“All the foot traffic went up the stairs and out of the station,” said Termini. Full Story (Subscription Required)