NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Business owners in Manhattan’s Garment District say they’ll struggle during a proposed water shutdown the city says is necessary for emergency repairs.
For establishments like Keens Steakhouse, timing is critical. It’s been open for over 135 years, but starting next week they could be facing a crisis.
“It’s devastating, and we’re not sure what we’re going to do,” said General Manager Bonnie Jenkins.
The city’s Department of Design and Construction will be sporadically shutting off water two to four days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for up to five weeks because of an emergency water main replacement underneath 36th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
“As a restaurant owner that means I’m closed for lunch,” said restaurant owner Mark Fox. “They’ve given me five days’ notice to reduce my business by fifty percent and lat off 12, 14, 16 people.”
Several hotels on the block will also feel an impact.
“We really rely on the fourth quarter, it’s the busiest time of the year and that’s just going to vanish,” said hotel manager John Loizos said. “Just going to be impossible to reach out to all our guests in such a short period of time.”
Businesses want officials to postpone construction, but a spokesperson says if the 12-inch water main isn’t replaced soon it could fail and cause catastrophic damage to the street.
“We could’ve sat down and come to a common sense conclusion on how this could be better achieved,” said Fox.
“They don’t give you a chance to make a plan you really don’t know how you’re gonna run your business,” said Jenkins.
City officials tell CBS2 they normally don’t provide alternate water supplies in these situations, and would not have a viable option in this current situation. They add they’ll work to accommodate the businesses, and will reconsider shutting down the water next week until after meeting with affected business owners.