Ways to Help New York
Just three weeks ago, our taxi-riding, NoLIta-shopping, cocktail-consuming
ways were seen even sometimes by ourselves as a sign
of decadence, if not a Sex and the City script. Now we realize
how innocent we were. Now, we learn, eating and drinking and theatergoing
and spending (not to mention giving and volunteering) are the patriotic
duty of all who consider themselves New Yorkers. The city still
needs heroes. And on the following pages you'll find innumerable
ways to help save your city whether or not you're a credit-card-carrying
in Rockefeller Center
Three-Star Rations Get out of the kitchen: Armies march on their stomachs. And
the army of rescue workers at ground zero has eaten well indeed
catered to by some of the best chefs in the country. Now, however,
downtown restaurateurs say they need their own Marshall Plan to bring
back paying customers.
"The restaurant business can't sustain weeks of this," says Drew
Nieporent, who owns Nobu,
Grill, and Layla,
all below Canal. A shuttle bus should begin operating within the
next few days, says Jacques Capsouto, of Capsouto
Frères, who will also cut prices by 25 percent. Local businesses,
including restaurants such as Chanterelle,
Bouley Bakery, and
Bubby's, have formed
the TriBeCa Organization in the hopes of luring visitors with neighborhood-wide
discounts the weekend of October 12.
Of course, midtown has also been thinly populated. "We are depending
almost exclusively on our regular customers right now," says Le
Cirque's Sirio Maccioni. Lutèce
is introducing an à la carte menu, and Medi,
the costly new Rockefeller Center restaurant from French chef Roger
Vergé, has a special $29.95 prix fixe "I Love New York" menu.
As on Broadway, restaurant workers are making sacrifices for the
greater good. "The staff is being wonderful," says Maguy Le Coze,
owner of Le Bernardin,
which closed for a week because she couldn't get fish that met her
standards. "They have agreed to take a cut in salary for as long
as it is needed.'' Customers are beginning to return the favor.
"Some people I haven't seen in a while are coming," says Le Coze.
"There has been a definite increase since last week." Don't forget
to tip. BETH LANDMAN KEIL
2. The Showgoers Must Go On
Every other year, it seems, there's a campaign to save Broadway.
But this time it actually needs it. Five musicals have already shuttered
The Music Man and The Rocky Horror Show among
them. Others are barely hanging on. "Unless you're The Lion King
or The Producers, you need help," says one theater publicist.
Pay tribute to the casts of Les Miz, Phantom,
and Kiss Me, Kate who have taken whopping salary
cuts of 25 to 50 percent so that their shows may go on but
don't forget that the stylish 1997 Tony-winner Chicago
could also use some help.
Plays always have a tough time standing up to the megamusicals.
Our picks for this season? Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, starring
Kate Burton; August Strindberg's Dance
of Death, starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren; and
Michael Frayn's Noises Off should all be terrific.
"There's a sense of community on Broadway that I haven't felt in
a long time," says Noises Off's Peter Gallagher. "I think
this can actually be a real romantic time, because it's hard to
sustain the bullshit when you're faced with these realities."
Buy any Broadway ticket right now and five bucks goes to the Twin
Towers Fund (rescue workers, firemen, policemen, and their family
members can get tickets for just $25). You can also buy tickets
for any Off Broadway show (including TheVagina Monologues
and Havana Is Waiting) and get a ticket to another
for half-price, through October 31. It would be a shame if the late
Jonathan Larson's sensational (if now somewhat unfortunately titled)
autobiographical musical Tick . . . Tick . . . Boom!and
the irreverent satire Reefer Madness had to close
before they got the chance to become cult classics. LOGAN
3. Unfurl Your Dollar Bills
If red, white, and blue are your new favorite colors, let your dollars
do double duty: At Bendel's,
proceeds from all things flag-hued go to charities, including the
September 11th Fund. Ditto the profits from Old
Navy's flag tees ($5) and Saks'
Trade Center commemorative tops ($20). And if you're not keen on parading
around in your purchases, the dog will be happy to oblige: At The
4 Paws Club, 65 percent of proceeds from Ella Dish's dog leash
($42) and collar ($40) go to the FDNY. After your patriotic shopping
spree, kick back at Bliss,
where $10 from every massage or facial through 2001 goes to the Twin
4. Take A Stand Against High-Rise Anxiety With workers looking to leave their jobs in conspicuously
tall buildings and a new Gallup poll finding that 35 percent
of Americans are now less willing to walk into a skyscraper
it's time to get right back onto that elevator and hit PH. One great
spot to amplify your vertigo is The
View, the rotating bar and restaurant on the forty-seventh
and forty-eighth floors of the Marriott Marquis (212-704-8900). For
more stationary but equally breathtaking vistas, try
Above, on the twenty-first floor of the Times Square Hilton
(212-642-2626), or Top of the
Tower, on the twenty-sixth-floor penthouse of the Beekman
Tower Hotel (212-980-4796). Or head to the Rainbow Room on
the sixty-fifth floor of Rockefeller Center (212-632-5100). Consider
it practice: a way to work up your nerve to take the elevators up
to the Empire State Building Observatory. ABBY TEGNELIA
5. Bunker Down (For the Weekend)
What if you created a sleek Philippe Starck stage set for Manhattan's
beautiful people and nobody showed up? That's just about what's
happened in the hotel business since the disaster. "The industry has
taken a body blow," says Emanuel Stern, who owns both the Tribeca
and SoHo Grand. "Not only aren't tourists coming, but business people
are making do without meetings in New York."
Fall is usually the most expensive time of year to stay in the
city. But now that occupancy rates have dropped to as low as 12
percent, some top hotels have, for all intents and purposes, become
bargain destinations. So it's your patriotic duty to take a little
second honeymoon you can travel by subway. The Tribeca
Grand (212-519-6600), not surprisingly, has dropped its rates
dramatically; a room that went for $309 per night on September 10
is only $199. A $395 room at the Mercer (212-966-6060) can
be had for $300. The W (212-755-1200) has a special "We Care"
package for $199 (down from $295).
In midtown, the Drake (212-421-0900), with its new Q56
restaurant and buzzing cocktail scene, has dropped its $259 weekend
rate to $179; the Dylan (212-338-0500), which houses the
restaurant Virot, has
reduced $355 rooms to $199; and the Hudson, which has seen
more celebs pass through its doors this year than the Dorothy Chandler
Pavilion, is offering a special crisis rate of $245, down from $310.
The Bentley (212-644-6000), at 500 East 62nd Street, currently
has a sweet deal of $125 per night, reduced from $265.
So sleep while you can it may be a while before we see
these prices again. "This week, we've actually seen people making,
not just canceling, reservations," quips The Four Seasons' Leslie
Lefkowitz. BETH LANDMAN KEIL