As New York looks to restart our economic engine after the pandemic, the arts and culture play a critical role, especially in New York City. Governor Cuomo underscored that connection in his State of the State and New York State budget announcements.

“Cities are by definition centers of energy, entertainment, theatre, and cuisine. Without that activity and attraction, cities lose much of their appeal. What is a city without social, cultural, and creative synergies? New York City is not New York without Broadway.”

The coronavirus hit the city hard, causing a massive health crisis and an economic disruption due to the pandemic mitigation measures’ necessary restrictions. The loss of jobs and tax revenue generated by the arts was irreplaceable. A recent report shows the value generated by the arts before the pandemic.

The theatre industry directly contributes $43 million to the economy of New York City. This figure represents expenditures by producers, theatre owners, and ticket brokers for performer’s salaries, sets, rents, etc. Moreover, the value generated through the arts ripples throughout the city as theatregoers annually spend approximately $45 million on restaurants, $10.3 million on taxis, and $4.3 million for parking. Bus tours bring in 600,000 people per year to attend the theatre, and organized theatre tours bring in a minimum of 20,000 visitors every year who often stay the better part of a week. These visitors are estimated to spend another $2.5 million on hotels, shopping, etc. Direct tax payments to New York City are at least $5.7 million.

Statewide, New York’s arts and cultural industries generate $114.1 billion to the state economy. As stated in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, in New York, the arts and culture industry accounts for almost half a million jobs and generates $120 billion in economic output.

“New York City is a global city. As such, we compete with other destination sites, including London, Paris, and Hong Kong,” said Jonas Shaende, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute. “A vibrant arts scene is necessary to compete on the world stage and continue to attract visitors and new residents to New York City. Supporting the revitalization of arts and culture is a necessary component of economic recovery and rebuilding.”

The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.