How Students Can Support Local Businesses During COVID-19

One of the main attractions of NYC are the quirky, small, local businesses that keep it weird. But according to the New York Times, one-third of New York’s small businesses may be gone forever because of the COVID-19 pandemic. NYU students are active spenders during the academic year (or at least I am…), so I am highlighting some local businesses that NYU students can support either while out on the town or from home. (If you’re out on the town, wear a mask!)

A Few of My Favorites

Mercer Street Books

If you’re a current NYU student, you’ve passed by Mercer Street Books & Records countless times on your way to 194 Mercer. This bookstore has been around for over thirty years and has been praised by the likes of Zadie Smith and Christopher Bram. If you’re going out, you can stop by and get some used books and records at 206 Mercer St. If you’re staying home, you can donate to their GoFundMe here. Any amount counts!

Buffalo Exchange

One of my favorite NYC activities is thrifting. And lucky for me (but not for my wallet) a location of Buffalo Exchange opened up right on Broadway & Washington Place, which is right next to the NYU Bookstore and Liberal Studies building. They are open for browsing (mask required!) and you can set up appointments to resell your clothes. Whatever they don’t take they will automatically donate, so it’s a win-win! Call your closest location to make an appointment and leave your clothes untouched for 24 hours prior. 


Picnic Baskets

And now, on to food (my real love). La Newyorkina may be familiar to anyone who’s had a paleta from the Mexican-American ice cream shop. Now this local business also serving food! They have small picnic baskets for $58 (2-3 ppl) and a large one for $130 (5-6 people). You can also get their regular menu delivered if you’re staying in!

Otaku Katsu on the Lower East Side has Japanese picnic boxes ready to go for $50. It serves 2-4 people and you can also pick your own drinks. You can also order delivery!


John’s of Bleeker in the West Village is one of many pizza places in the city, but their ultralocal delivery service means your pizza will be hot and ready to eat. If you’re living in Lipton, Goddard, Greenwich, Brittany, Weinstein, or Rubin, try something new! Support this local business and order online here.


If you’re craving baked goods, the place to order from is Bread’s Bakery in Union Square. Their babka is world-famous! They are also offering a picnic basket so you can eat with friends in the park (socially distanced). You can order via delivery apps or via their website

Taco Majal in the West Village serves tacos Indian-style. Try the chicken tikka masala taco at their outdoor dining setup while the weather is still nice. You can also order delivery to your dorm or apartment.

Enjoy the City Safely

Now that many of us are back in the city, the temptation to see our friends after leaving in March is high. We just have to remember to keep the city’s residents safe while we’re at it. Hang out outdoors, wear masks when you’re waiting at restaurants, and stay out of large gatherings. We can enjoy the city, and each other, while staying safe.

Originally from Washington, DC, Izzy is a junior in the Global Liberal Studies Program with minors in Social & Public Policy in NYU Wagner and History in CAS. On campus, Izzy is involved in College Democrats, the Politics Society, the Bronfman Center, and Admissions Ambassadors. Outside of class, Izzy loves Citibiking, indoor cycling classes, shopping in SoHo, and spending too much on dessert.