Occupy Wall Street protesters turned their anti-greed movement into a cash cow for borough businesses after the “99-percent” marched over the Brooklyn Bridge and bellied right up to the bar.
Local restaurateurs in and around Brooklyn Heights reported double-digit sales spikes.
“There were couple hundred additional people here,” said Nick Likourentzos, whose Park Plaza Diner Restaurant on Cadman Plaza East had a 30-percent boost in business.
“We actually had to turn away some business because we were so overwhelmed from the protesters.”
Many other business owners confirmed the same “Occupy Brooklyn” effect:
• Cranberry’s on Henry Street — up 33 percent.
• Heights Falafel — up 20 percent.
• Front Street Pizza — “We sold out of everything on the counter!” said Larry Leonardi, the legendary manager.
• Clark’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights — put off its normal closing time by two hours.
• Henry Street Ale House — not an empty seat in the house at 10 pm.
The stepped-up sales put to rest, at least for a night, the notion that the “Occupy” movement is anti-business.
“Occupy Wall Street hurts the economy? We just came in here and spent some a fair amount of money,” said Andy McKinney, who was sitting with five people from New Jersey.
McKinney saw nothing contradictory about spending money for a burger and a beer after rallying against the rich.
“It’s all local businesses in Brooklyn,” said McKinney. “It’s not on anyone’s consciousness to not support them.”
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hasn’t come out in favor of the “occupiers,” but the borough’s business group certainly enjoyed the economic boost that non-violent, First Amendment-protected speech can bring.
“Occupy Wall Street is a political statement,” said Chamber President Carl Hum. “[But] in many ways, it’s a tourist attraction.”