Iconic NYC Businesses Struggle to Stay Afloat Through Pandemic

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, many NYC institutions are struggling to survive.

Thanks to the spike in COVID-19 cases, stricter guidelines go into effect in New York City Friday night. Most bars and restaurants with liquor licenses must close by 10 p.m., which is bad news for businesses already struggling.

The historic Kellogg's Diner in Brooklyn has been in business for nearly 50 years, but with restaurants only allowed to have 25% capacity for indoor dining and the new curfew about to take effect, it’s struggling to survive.

“It put a big toll on us, a very big toll. It killed our business,” owner Irene Siderakis told Inside Edition. “Customers keep coming. They tell me, Irene, we're not gonna let this shut down.”

A cleaning company is even providing free disinfecting services, but it’s not enough. Siderakis said she is still questioning whether or not the diner will have to close permanently.

In Manhattan, the iconic 73-year-old barber shop, Astor Place Hairstylists, whose past celebrity clientele includes JFK Jr., is also struggling. Second-generation owner John Vezza told Inside Edition that sales are down a whopping 90%.

“People are afraid to come, some people started to learn to do their hair at home, some people don't care about cutting their hair anymore,” Vezza said.

He has now made the heartbreaking decision to close the business for good.

“The outpouring has been—brings tears to my eyes. It's been incredible, it’s incredible. We've been here a long time,” Vezza said.

Just a few blocks away at the 93-year-old Strand Bookstore, owner Nancy Wyden told Inside Edition that sales are down 70%.

“COVID has really knocked us off of our socks,” Wyden said. 

The third-generation owner took to Twitter with a plea for help.

“This is the post we hoped to never write. The loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted,” it said. 

Loyal customers are still doing what they can to show their support for the beloved store.

“I came here today specifically to spend a few hundred bucks to try to help out,” one customer told Inside Edition. “This is a New York City institution.”

Wyden said she is “taking it day by day.”