Jay-Z, XXL, G-Unit Face NYC Transit Shutdown Woes
As the MTA's subways and buses came to a halt, employees at record labels, magazines and public relations firms scrambled to find ways to make it to work. Reports say 7 million daily commuters use the MTA, the country's largest transit system. The strike is projected to cost the city between $400-$700 million per day.
SOHH.com has learned that several music-related companies have been forced to work under contingency plans as they try to cope with the paralyzing strike effects on their business. Employees at Harris Publishing, home of XXL and King Magazine, had to find ways to make it in to their offices in Manhattan's Flatiron District.
Staffers at The Source Magazine, Atlantic Records and Rush Communications are reportedly working from home today. Public relations firms like Susan Blond Inc., who represent artists like Cam'ron and Usher, are allowing employees to work remotely if they can't find means of transportation. SOHH.com is told that EMI, Virgin Records' parent company, offered to pay for their employees' commute.
Meanwhile, executives like Jay-Z, who commutes in his Maybach Benz to Def Jam's midtown offices daily from Fort Lee, NJ, will have to car pool into Manhattan under the city's new strict rules. The city is requiring all cars to have a minimum of four passengers to enter midtown during morning rush hour. After 11 a.m., the carpool ban is lifted.
On another note, New York record stores aren't likely to be as packed as expected four days prior to Christmas Eve. Despite new releases like The Notorious B.I.G.'s Biggie Duets: The Final Chapter, Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable and Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough, retailers will likely take a local sales hit due to deserted stores.
Though no major concerts are planned in New York this week, concert attendance is sure to be affected should the strike continue. R&B singer Bilal is slated to take S.O.B.'s stage (Dec. 27) in Manhattan while Rahzel (Dec. 28) is scheduled for a Brooklyn performance at Warsaw.
G-Unit's Christmas show (Dec. 26) at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island may also be affected because concertgoers coming from NYC will have to find alternate means to get to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) without the MTA connection. Despite the strike, LIRR is fully functional and the bulk of Nassau Coliseum attendees usually drive to the venue.
The strike has crippled the city as a whole. New Yorkers walked to work from all points this morning, several thousand streaming across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan. In Jamaica, Queens, determined workers lined up for over an hour to purchase tickets to hop on the Long Island Railroad which is boosting service to support the increased demand. The Metro-North lines are also assisting with transportation by offering increased service from Westchester and northern points.