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Icy Empire State Building Hampres Business on 34th

NEW YORK — Falling ice from the top of the Empire State Building closed traffic Wednesday on 34th Street, causing some retailers to fill their days counting inventory rather than making sales.<br><br>"There’s no one here but the employees...

NEW YORK — Falling ice from the top of the Empire State Building closed traffic Wednesday on 34th Street, causing some retailers to fill their days counting inventory rather than making sales.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“There’s no one here but the employees and we had to let some customers out the back because we couldn’t use the front doors,” said Limited Express manager Jenny Valentine-Reyes. “I’ve sent a couple of employees home and we’re just doing stock work, trying to be productive.”

The area surrounding the skyscraper was closed in the late morning after reports of falling ice, said a New York City Police Department spokesman. Nobody was injured, although some close calls were encountered. The streets affected were 34th and 33th Streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The closing would remain in effect until the area was deemed safe — free from falling ice, said the NYPD spokesman.

“It’s basically just icicles falling and we can’t determine how long they will keep falling,” the spokesman added. “It’s a natural thing and there’s nothing we can do.”

Further away from the Empire State Building, retailers like Zara and Steve Madden, which are closer to Herald Square, said traffic was sporadic. Both stores said they would remain open as planned.

“We’re really extremely slow,” said Jenny Bitterly, manager at Zara. “We’ll probably send some people home, but I doubt the store will close early.”

Lisa Rosenthal, associate director of retail services at the 34th Street Partnership, a business improvement district, said she was disappointed for the retailers and the community for the bad weather conditions.

“However, the street is vital and strong and we really want everyone to be safe,” she added.