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Taxi Drivers Can't Stand The UNGA, But Hotels Kinda Like 'Em

September 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

The best way for NYC hotels to pull themselves out of the summer slow period is a major event or convention. The UNGA makes them very happy. The UNGA does not, however, make cab drivers happy.

The WSJ ran a piece on Tuesday which gave a voice to the frustrated cab drivers who lose valuable customers each year when the UNGA comes and clogs up all the city streets. Of course, that same problem is a boon to local hotels, who receive the jet-setting delegates (and their entourages) with open arms. We learned, for instance, that for his week-long stay, the president of Sierra Leone booked three entire floors (including the penthouse!) at none other than Hyatt 48Lex, one of the newest hotels around. Someone on the Sierra Leone team must have been doing their research!

Only in one part of the city was a hotel experiencing both the joys and the woes of hosting certain disliked presidents. We don't know if Ahmadinejad would have preferred Hyatt's sleek glass tower (whose lobby is graced with a $15,000 coffeemaker) to the stuffier Warwick, but it didn't seem like he had much of a choice.

In the article, gripes from taxi drivers are contrasted with the kind words of hotel and restaurant managers, who jump at the prospect of more business. In particular, the WSJ spoke to both the Millennium UN Plaza New York and the Grand Hyatt:

"'These people have a lot of buying power,' said Wanda Chan, general manager of the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel. 'It's not just good for hotels, it's good for restaurants and conference centers, it's good for everyone. It's great for New York — we're very lucky to have the U.N.'

[The Grand Hyatt's Mark Pardue] said the U.N. General Assembly brings some inconvenience but offers the city's economy a reliable lift each September after the generally slow summer season. He said it compares well to other big draws like the U.S. Open tennis championships, the New York City Marathon, and the first two weeks of December, the peak Christmas shopping season. "It's right up there. We had five delegations staying here. They are here primarily for the business aspect, but they extend beyond the UNGA and take in the sights and sounds, the theater and the shopping.'"

Can we imagine a New York without traffic jams and motorcades? Yes. Would it be the same city without those things? Probably not.

[Photo: Parikiaki]

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