Foursquare tweeted a graphic this afternoon that depicts just how completely Lower Manhattan was shut down by Hurricane Sandy.
The graphic compares check-ins across Manhattan between Saturday and Wednesday. Saturday shows check-ins spreading the length of the island, while Wednesday shows virtually no activity in Lower Manhattan. The area had no power or cellular service on Wednesday and is only getting back (in some parts) today.
Central Park (at the top of the map) also shows signs a marked reduction in activity. The park isn’t expected to reopen until tomorrow as crews have been cleaning up from the storm.
The lack of check-ins translates to a lack of business for shops and restaurants in the affected area. With the razor-thin margins many of those businesses operate on, there are plenty that won’t be able to absorb the hit. Residents are encouraging people to do all they can to support local businesses as they try to ramp back up.
The hurricane displaced Foursquare themselves. Their NY headquarters are located in the area without power, so the company scrambled to set up temporary space in Midtown. Four other offices sprang up around the other boroughs, where employees were unable to reach the office in Manhattan.
UPDATE: Foursquare data scientist Blake Shaw has posted an image showing the spike in grocery store check-ins as everyone grabbed supplies before Sandy hit:
PS The image is a followup to one tweeted by Peter Wu yesterday, showing the difference in trending venues between the haves and the have-nots (of power that is).