Print options

September 29, 2013

UN General Assembly Gives Local Business a Boost

by Carla Babb

September is a month where some U.S. cities see a large decrease in tourism as the busy summer travel season ends.  But the September slump goes unnoticed in New York.  That’s due in part to large events throughout the month, such as the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Fashion Week and the United Nations General Assembly.
 
The city that never sleeps has been as busy as ever during this year’s U.N. General Assembly.
 
And shop managers nearby, like Mohammed Elassa, couldn’t be happier.  
 
“It’s the only time we make a lot of money.  Better than Christmas.  Better than everything,” said Elassa.
 
Watches, shoes – it’s all going fast to international shoppers.
 
“I wish every month they [could] have the Assembly General at the United Nations. I wish.  If it [were] every month we [would] make a lot of money. My boss is going to be very happy,” said Elassa.
 
Jene Gillis-Harry came to work at the General Assembly this month from Nigeria.
 
 “You see so many things to buy.  Having to decide on one is quite difficult,” said Gillis-Harry.
 
A few blocks away, business is booming at the Roger Smith Hotel.  The hotel can even command a higher rate due to the heavy General Assembly traffic, according to Hotel Digital Marketing Director John Knowles.
 
“We are the cross-section of the U.N. - so it’s a lot of people, a lot of business, a lot of traffic,” said Knowles.
 
Nearby, Little Italy Pizza is bringing in the cash.  The shop delivers to the General Assembly and feeds tourists in the restaurant -- tourists that New Yorker Adrienne Russo says she’s used to seeing.
 
“My street is jam packed because I’m seven blocks from the U.N., so when you go in a restaurant, it’s hard to get a seat, and that’s what September is in New York, every year,” said Russo.
 
Whether selling a slice of pizza, a shirt, or a place to sleep, it’s clear here that the annual gathering is a big help to September sales.