New York's Cultural Attractions Return


New York’s emergence from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy continues today, with the partial return of public transportation and some openings of attractions. We checked in with Chris Heywood of NYCGo, the city’s tourism agency, to get a picture of the overall scene.

“Little by little, the attractions are coming back online,” Heywood said. “More things are open than closed. The main tourist zone is not as bad as lower Manhattan.”

The curtains are back up on Broadway shows, and many are offering special prices to keep the theaters full. Off-Broadway theaters uptown are also resuming performances, but some downtown productions remain closed. One production, Home/Sick, which was critically acclaimed by the New York Times last year, will go on at the Living Theater on Clinton Street (south of Houston) on battery power tonight, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Museums are also reopening, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History. However, most museums in the downtown area, like the Rubin Museum of Art on 17th St., do not have power, and remain closed. Zoos will reopen this weekend, but the Aquarium will be out of commission for a while, Heywood said.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will reopen on Saturday, and many of the city’s parks are closed due to damage. The Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is open, as is the Empire State Building. Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza will open today.

The annual Halloween parade, which normally takes place on Halloween night, has been postponed to next week, but the New York City Marathon is moving forward as planned. The Health and Fitness Expo will take place through Saturday at Javits Center.

Perhaps most importantly, all three of the city’s airports are back up and running, although with limited service.

The Restaurants


We reported earlier on restaurants that were reopening in the wake of the storm--one of the first steps in returning to normalcy. But those reopenings are just a fraction of what needs to be done: According to a Huffington Post article, few of New York's 24,000 restaurants were spared completely by the devastating hurricane. Many eateries in downtown Manhattan still have no power and will have to remain closed until electricity is restored.

Four of David Chang's trendy Momofuku restaurants are located within the dark zone in downtown Manhattan and were forced to close after dinner service Sunday. Yet EunJean Song, director of operations for the company, said the company avoided big losses by moving all the ingredients stored in the East Village locations to a large walk-in cooler the company had waiting in Williamsburg across the river, which had not lost power. 

Joe Bastianich, who co-owns eight New York restaurants with Mario Batali, said the power outage had shut down all six of the pair's restaurants below 29th Street, including their three most famous, Del Posto, Eataly, and Babbo. 

But few restaurants were hit as hard as the River Cafe, which has three stars from The New York Times and one star from the Michelin Guide. During the worst of the storm, water was three to four feet deep throughout the dining rooms and kitchen. Owner Michael O'Keefe said that the hurricane caused millions of dollars worth of damage, and that the restaurant may not be able to return for months. 

Another property, Flute Gramercy, remains closed due to the power outage, but its Midtown location on 54th Street near Broadway is open for business as usual. 



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