By Tim Harfmann
At Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island, Brooklyn there appears to be less cutting in the kitchen, due to a cutback in customers.
“I wouldn’t say a drastic decrease,” explained co-owner Nino Russo, “but I would say a concerning decrease.”
Local businesses like Gargiulo’s are feeling the impact of the coronavirus, as New Yorkers opt to stay home instead of going out.
Russo’s not sure how much business he’s lost, but can tell patrons are parting ways.
For customers still coming in, the outbreak is on their minds.
“Most people that come in, it’s probably the first thing they’re questioning, and avoiding shaking hands and whatnot,” he explained.
Russo said the restaurant is always cautious, with hand sanitizer at almost every door and gloves for employees handling food.
Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island, works closely with more than 350 businesses in the community.
“It’s empty, like the corridor is just empty,” she said. “And there’s always people out and about here, especially on a day like this. People are usually anxious for spring, and they come out, and we’re not seeing that right now.”
For his part, Russo believes the neighborhood is still Brooklyn Strong, especially after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“We’re resilient in Coney Island because we went through Sandy, so we just got to be prepared and do the best we can to keep everything moving forward and keeping clean and safe around us,” he said.
Hopefully, those are the ingredients for a restaurant rebound.