Jay-Z/Eminem concerts were huge business boon

The giant Jay-Z and Eminem concerts at Yankee Stadium on Monday and Tuesday, September 13 and 14, left stadium-area businesses with fat pockets.

Cary Goodman, executive director of the E. 161st Street BID, said that the BID just completed a survey of bars, restaurants, pizzerias, and clubs in the area of the stadium, most of them from Gerard Avenue down to River Avenue, and abutting the stadium area.

The survey asked them to rate, on a scale of 1-10, how well they fared in the evenings after the concerts. The average response was a 9.

“We asked them how this compared to a normal Monday or Tuesday night when the team is out of town,” said Goodman. “Overwhelmingly, merchants indicated this was somewhere between the night of a playoff and a World Series game, in terms of how well they did.”

Bars and restaurants such as Billy’s, Stan’s, the Dugout, and even smaller places like Yankee’s Eatery all flourished from the crowds of people that took to the streets after each concert, looking for somewhere to have a drink.

“Monday night we had some rain,” said Goodman, “which was even nicer because people wanted to get off the street and go into a bar or restaurant.”

Zachary Kraus, a manager at Z’novia who was working on the two nights of the concerts, said that Z’novia did extremely well.

“We don’t typically open on Modnay, but we did for the concert,” he said. “It was absolutely well-worth being open. The idea that we can cross-promote for events other than Yankees games is huge.”

Kraus said that Z’novia served a special drink, Jay-Z’novia, and that it sold like crazy.

“The whole area was festive, so it felt like there was a party on the street,” he recalled.

“It’s nice to know that on those nights people saw us that ordinarily would not have. It was great to see these three or four blocks come alive the way they did.”

Goodman said that the blocks did more than come alive for just two nights — they experienced such great evenings that they may revolutionize the way they do business entirely.

“The stadium is changing, picking up new responsibilities and events, so it’s an exciting time,” he said. “This will be the first time football is at the new stadium. The first game will be in Novemnber with Notre Dame and Army, and there are a lot of alumni in the NYC area from those schools. So the football, like the concert, will represent a new life cycle for our businesses.”

Goodman said that not only will many businesses that close their gates during baseball offseason consider staying open during those times, but in addition the BID is working with the Hispanic Baseball Museum to get them a building in the district.

“Most retailers,” Goodman explained, “they do their best business between back-to-school and Christmas. But for all the business up here by the stadium, their cycle has been the baseball season. Now with football coming in, and more concerts, everything is changing.

One specific type of store in the business community that faces a challenge is souvenir and gift shops. Goodman said they are used to selling exclusively Yankee merchandise and did not sell any Jay-Z or Eminem items after the concerts.

“I think they could have taken advantage of the concerts better,” he said. “They’re going to have to adjust.”

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