Times Square is hosting its annual dining-out event a few months later than usual but with more outdoor dining options than ever as restaurants adapt to the coronavirus.
“Throughout the entire pandemic we had been struggling to find ways to support our local businesses and restaurants,” said TJ Witham, the Times Square Alliance’s director of communications. “When it came to the fall, we decided to relook at ‘Taste of Times Square’ in a different light.”
Twenty restaurants in the Manhattan neighborhood will participate in “Taste of Times Square” from Oct. 23 – 30 — hosted annually by the Times Square Alliance, typically in June — offering diners a three-course prix fixe meals for $35 whether for indoor or outdoor dining, takeout or delivery.
“We want to give people the opportunity to patronize the business with great deals,” Witham said, “and get the word out there that they are open.”
The dining specials give patrons an opportunity to try new local restaurants while also bringing in more foot traffic to businesses who are struggling due to the continued closure of the theatre district and tourism industry that dominate the area.
“Especially with the current state of the world right now it is important to support our local businesses,” Witham said. “As the Theatre District and Broadway are still shut down for another several months and Broadway is a huge economic driver of that neighborhood.”
However, with the lower density of pedestrians in Times Square, Tony’s DiNapoli has been able to transform the plaza at 43rd Street and Broadway into an outdoor Italian eatery with an old-style feel down to the checkered tablecloths, where patrons can enjoy a three-course meal in the very spot where the ball drops every New Year’s Eve.
“You have the opportunity to dine under the lights, screens and wonderful craziness in the heart of Times Square,” Witham said.
Throughout the week, dinner will be spontaneously accompanied by a small musical or visual art performance courtesy of the Hell’s Kitchen Happiness Krewe, an organization that has been supporting out of work musicians and artists.
“I am glad we have been able to pepper them throughout the week as it will be an added bonus to your dining experience,” Witham said.
New Yorkers from all over the city should come to Times Square for this year’s dining out events, he added, as the typically fast-paced neighborhood has a more neighborly vibe than usual.
“People don’t necessarily equate Times Square with that mom and pop style, restaurant row style.. and right now, you can walk down 46th street and there is outdoor dining on both sides of the street,” Witham said. “It has that neighborhood feel.”