Saturday, October 20, 2012
Bronx businesses brace for long offseason
On a normal Friday night during baseball season, Jasmin Rodriguez would have plenty to do.
As a bartender at Billy's Sports Bar near Yankee Stadium, Rodriguez would be pouring drinks for dozens of patrons before, during and after Yankees games.
The Yankees' season is over. That much is clear when you look around the Bronx.
But Rodriguez wasn't busy at all on the first Friday after the Yankees were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
There were two women sitting at the bar and one table full of customers. Not exactly a packed house.
"It's different when the Yankees lose -- obviously," Rodriguez said. "It depends on the night, but things can be a little slower."
Billy's Sports Bar isn't the only business affected by the end of the Yankees' season.
There are dozens of Yankees-themed businesses around the Stadium which depend on crowds from the games to keep their cash registers ringing.
When the Yanks' season ends, these business obviously suffer. Some close earlier than normal. Others close for weeks at a time.
There's a newspaper stand across the street from the Stadium run by John (who did not wish to give his real name). During the season, John said he has no problem paying the weekly $300 fee for a security camera.
But when the Yankees aren't around, it becomes much more difficult. John says that he chooses to close his stand for long stretches during the offseason because the business just isn't there.
So, of course, John was upset when the Yanks couldn't win two games in Detroit to force a Game 6 in the Bronx.
"That killed me," he said.
The season-ending losses also affected Deborah Eversley.
Eversley runs Jeans Plus, a clothing store on East 161st Stree, which stocks Yankees gear. During the season, Eversley said the store is open late, usually until after a Yankees game ends.
Now, it will close several hours earlier. There's no need to stay open if the customers aren't there.
"(Business) slows down," she said.
But Eversley is used to the cycle. She has been at Jeans Plus for several years and knows things will pick up in April.
"I've been through this before," she said. "Everything will be fine."