Negotiations resumed yesterday afternoon between the city's three major newspapers and the pressman's union for the first time since Wednesday, when the papers were closed by a strike.

A variety of other papers and broadcast outlets were trying to fill the gap for news-hungry New Yorkers, amid predictions that the strike could be a long one.

Federal mediator Kenneth Moffett, who had urged both sides to return to the bargaining table, said during a recess, "The atmosphere is good considering it's the first meeting since the strike took place."

However, the chief negotiators for the two sides were not optimistic before the talks resumed.

"I don't see a short strike," said H.J. Kracke, executive director of the publishers Association of New York, which represents the Times, Daily News and Post.

William Kennedy, president of Printing Pressmen's Local No.2, had warned over the weekend to expect "a very long strike" and did not change that assessment yesterday.

The strike was triggered when the publeshers unilaterally posted new work rules to reduce the pressroom staff. The union contends the puvlishers want to eliminate half of its members' jobs. The publishers say any cutbacks will occur only as a result of attrition and over a period of years.

The city's Office of Economic Development estimated businesses are losing $2 million a day, with the largest losses incurred by department stores and entertainment attractions. It also estimates the newspapers are losing $2 million daily in advertising and circulation revenues.

Papers like The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, and News World, which is affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, all announced expanded press runs, as did some suburban papers, including Newsday on Long Island and the Bergen Record in New Jersey.

A new paper is scheduled to begin publication tomorrow with some staff from the struck papers.

Local television and radio stations continued increased news coverage. WQXR, the New York Times-owned radio station, scheduled special coverage featuring Times editors and columnists. And the Daily News provided a one-minute report, updated hourly, by telephone.