Photo: Dan Nguyen via Flickr
This nearly-last weekend of summer is usually a big one for New York City’s $31 billion tourism industry. But Hurricane Irene has changed all that.
Now that nearly 400,000 New Yorkers have been asked to evacuate, and the rest stayed inside as the transportation system ground to a halt, the landscape looks quite different.
We took a look at what businesses decided to stay open, which ones offered employees car services, and what New Yorkers prioritise before disaster strikes.
In fact, in 2004, Walmart found that beer was its #1 pre-hurricane sales item.
NPR reported on this trend yesterday:
Frankly Wines, a small shop just outside the evacuation zone, was doing a pretty brisk business today. Owner Christy Frank lives around the corner. Late August is normally a slow time, she says, but Irene has been great for business.
'We've been calling it the 'hurricane stimulus package,'' Frank said. 'It's definitely been good for business. I have a number of other friends who own wine stores elsewhere in the city, and after yesterday, we were all just beat. It was like the day before Thanksgiving, or New Year's Eve.'
Equinox stayed open until 8 p.m. Saturday (depending upon location) and arranged for its employees to get home via car service
The Brooklyn Heights club was busier than usual at 11 a.m., which is interesting because the gym is located just a few blocks away from a mandatory evacuation zone. We assume anyone who had time to work out had already stocked up on 'D' batteries and beer.
Around 8 a.m., the Brooklyn location was only moderately busy, and was also fully stocked (it even had several cases of water).
The Brooklyn Target stayed open until 6 p.m. on Saturday -- one of its employees told us the store was providing a car service for employees to get home safely
At 9 a.m., the store was nearly fully stocked -- save for with 'C' or 'D' batteries -- and surprisingly empty.
On the other hand, retailers like Macy's closed Saturday -- and will suffer after losing back-to-school shoppers
It was moderately filled with tourists, even though most stores were closed.
Movie theatres across the city closed early Saturday -- affecting the 20% drop in box office sales this weekend
'It comes on a weekend, so it doesn't do that much damage to the economy,' he said from an evacuation centre. 'In the grand scheme of a city with a $65 billion budget it's very difficult to measure -- negligible is probably a good word.'
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.