Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer cut the ribbon Thursday morning to reopen a personal favorite of his – Junior’s Cheesecake in Times Square made its return with indoor dining.
Alan Rosen, the proprietor of the beloved New York City staple that has been in business for over 70 years, expressed relief that their Times Square location would persist 15 years after making its way to Broadway.
“Our [flagship] Brooklyn restaurant reopened last June and our local community, our employees and out government helped us survive,” Rosen said. “It is not just that we are reopening, it’s that more than 150 employees are coming back. They’re the backbone of Junior’s and I can’t thank them enough for sticking with us and being here today.”
Schumer has been making the rounds at well-known eateries across the city, an effort to get the word out about grants now available through the American Rescue Act which can be applied for through the Small Business Administration.
“We did pass the RESTAURANTS Act, as majority leaders, I get to decide what bills I put on the floor of the Senate … and it was bipartisan,” Schumer said. “Just on Monday, they started making applications available. So if you’re a restaurant in New York, please apply. There are $28 billion, you can get up to $5 million to keep your restaurant open for six months. We know our restaurants like Junior’s are our lifeblood. They’re not just places to eat, they’re community centers.”
According to Schumer, the funding available through the act is superior to businesses getting loan through the Paycheck Protection Program which the federal government launched at the height of the pandemic in spring 2020.
At the end of April 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that curfews for indoor and outdoor dining would be lifted as the the population of New York becomes increasingly inoculated against COVID-19 which forced the city into hibernation around starting in March of 2020.
Restaurants have seen brief respites from the restrictions imposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo through outdoor dining and some indoor capacity.
Leaders in the restaurant industry, such as NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie, have argued that the crackdown on businesses have not been backed by science, proving or disproving eateries as a vector for the disease.