New Yorkers hit by recession go out less, drink less: survey

Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:46pm EDT
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By Daniel Lippman

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - New York may be the city that never sleeps but the recession seems to have clipped its night owls' wings with a survey finding people are not going out as much and spending less.

A survey of 5,719 New Yorkers by travel and entertainment guide Zagat found that people had cut back from going out an average of 2.3 times a week in 2000 to an average of 1.8 times a week in 2010.

When asked whether the economy had affected their nightlife, almost a third of respondents said they are paying more attention to prices, 31 percent said they are going to less expensive nightspots, and 32 percent are ordering fewer drinks.

Four in 10 reported that they are spending less when they go out -- $51.25 this year from $56.59 two years ago -- although the average cost of a drink has risen from $7.20 in 2000 to $10.78 now.

"Most of this decline followed Wall Street's 2008 collapse. Before then the average times out per week was 2.0," Zagat said in a statement.

The survey, part of a guide book available in bookstores and at newsstands, also asked people to review 1,014 nightspots and asked what bothered them the most about New York's nightlife.

The top three answers given were places being overcrowded, too noisy or having bad service.

A smoking ban -- described by Zagat as the most "revolutionary change to nightlight since prohibition" -- had been controversial initially but had quickly been accepted and even appreciated.

The Zagat survey found the top three nightlife neighborhoods in New York City were the Meatpacking District, the Lower East Side and the East Village.

(Reporting by Daniel Lippman; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

<p>The Manhattan skyline is seen from a helicopter in New York City, April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>