The fuel that fires the midtown's restaurant economy is, like electricity or natural gas, indispensable. It's that bustling, shuffling mass we like to call tourists, and with 27 theaters currently dark thanks to a stagehand strike, the tourism machine may be poised to shudder and stop. “The strike has a huge effect on us,” bemoans Insieme chef Marco Canora. “That's like 40 percent of our business.” Thanks to Insieme's high repute, the place gets a good seating between pre- and post-theater, but other restaurants are even more vulnerable.
The Carnegie Deli is known for its crabby waiters, but when we spoke to Muriel Caraballo about her patrons ("Thank God for the tourists!"), the famously cramped seating, and all those rules on the menu, she was sweeter than cheesecake. Just don't order your pastrami with mayo.