With no fans allowed in the stands because of the coronavirus, businesses in the shadow of Yankee Stadium along River Avenue are striking out.

The bars, restaurants, and sports memorabilia shops on the avenue depend on fans attending games for as much as 90 percent of their revenue.

What You Need To Know

  • The 161st Business Improvement District is planning a carnival-like atmosphere for Yankees' home opener Friday

  • Many businesses on River Avenue and the blocks surrounding the stadium rely on fans for the majority of their yearly revenue

  • During most home games bars and restaurants around the stadium will be showing the games on TV's set up outside

"It is devastating me. Actually last week I started a GoFundMe page to keep Yankee Tavern open," said Joe Bastone, the owner of Yankee Tavern.

The 161st Street Business Improvement District (BID) is stepping up to the plate, hiring a marching band and other performers to create a festive atmosphere before Friday's home opener.

The hope is people will turn out for the long-awaited return of baseball to the Bronx - even if they can't get inside the stadium.

"It is a Red Sox-Yankee rivalry. Sometimes there are so many people who want to be a part of that atmosphere, that experience, the stadium is sold out, and this is as exciting and as full of life as it is in the ballpark, so we would like to have that happen again," added Carry Goodman, executive director at the 161st Street BID.

The BID says it is working on closing the street so that businesses like Stan's Sports Bar can expand its socially-distant outdoor dinning into the street

On Friday and for most home games, bars and restaurants will invite fans to sit outside and watch the games on large TVs. 

"Just to open outside, it is almost a loss for us. But we have had such a calling from our fans to please open up because it is their tradition, home games at Yankee Stadium, come down and and have something to eat, so we are going to do outside operations," said Stan's owner, Michael Rendino.

The hope is to give fans a little feel of baseball in the Bronx while helping support local businesses. 

"Come down, still get the feel of coming to the Bronx and rooting for the Yankees even if it is from your favorite restaurant," said Nancy Delarosa, one of the owners at Molino Rojo Restaurant.

Businesses say even if fans do come out and enjoy Yankee baseball in this new normal they will only generate about half of their normal revenue.

They just hope that is enough to keep them around for next baseball season.