Subway shops forced to close, adding to MTA’s woes

“I just couldn’t see hanging on,” says owner of famed record store

TRD New York /
Sep.September 03, 2020 12:00 PM
Record Mart in the Times Square-42nd Street station (Photos via Facebook)

Record Mart in the Times Square-42nd Street station (Photos via Facebook)

Shops inside subway stations could once count a steady stream of foot traffic.

But now, with ridership way down, many well-known retailers are shutting down, according to The City.

“I just couldn’t see hanging on,” said Lou Moskowitz, owner of Record Mart inside the Times Square–42nd Street station. Moskowitz, whose father co-founded the store in 1958, closed it for good in June.

“I was planning on going as long as I could,” he told The City. “But with this pandemic, I knew we had no chance.”

Times Square was the system’s busiest last year, with 65 million riders per day passing through its turnstiles. Systemwide, ridership is down more than 80 percent from its peak.

According to the MTA, 35 of 215 retailers inside New York’s subway stations have closed since March, putting further pressure on the cash-strapped agency.

MTA spokesperson Andrei Berman told The City that the agency had extended rent-deferral options to help tenants through the crisis.

“In the months ahead, we will work to advance a wide range of policies aimed at bringing back tenants to some of the locations in question,” he said.

“[We] expect that vacancy rates will decline as customers continue to return to the system in greater numbers.”

Daily subway ridership was 5.5 million last year. It is just under 1.5 million now.

[The City] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan


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