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Times Square Vendors Struggling To Make Ends Meet Without Typical Summer Crowds

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Summertime is usually prime time for businesses in Times Square, with tourists flooding one of the world's most popular destinations. But, not this year.

Many vendors who need to make a living are struggling to make ends meet, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported Monday.

Ahmad Shaker stands behind his hot dog stand on 45th and Broadway, hoping for customers.

Shaker said he doesn't make ten percent of what he used to.

He said his family has worked on this corner for 14 years, running a smoothie cart, as well.

The family shut down from March until May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With hardly any office workers or tourist, and no shows on Broadway, it's not easy for anyone trying to make a living in Times Square these days.

Rob Burck, better known as The Naked Cowboy, said he feels isolated without any out-of-towners to entertain.


Burck said he used to make $500 to $600 a day from tips. Not anymore.

"No one can care less that I'm standing here. They walk by and they're like, 'How you doing, Rob?' Like I know 'em," said Burck.

On top of that, several apparently homeless people have sprawled out where throngs of pedestrians would typically be walking.

"There's more homeless and there's more drug addicts than anything else. There's no workers," said an office worker to CBS2. "It's sad."

"I wish business was back to normal because our business is very slow," said Walid el Faramawy, a Times Square vendor.

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Tim Tompkins, with the Times Square Alliance, said the crossroads of the world will survive in the long run. But, businesses will go under without short term help.

Tompkins said, "The big thing on the national level, of course, is gonna have to be a renewal of some of the unemployment benefits and other things to be able to sustain and also some way to really support the independent businesses and the restaurants."

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