Traffic at rush hour is back. Noise complaints are growing. And again, it’s hard to book your favorite place for lunch.
When the pandemic emptied the streets of New York last year, some declared her dead. But after a terrible, painful year, the city is now opposing these declarations – and regaining its power.
More than half of New Yorkers have had at least one vaccine and Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are declining sharply. Museums have a capacity of 50% and cinemas 33%. The midnight evening in bars and restaurants will soon be abolished. Shakespeare in the Park is back, albeit with a shortened schedule.
Parks and outdoor areas ̵
Even rents seem to be stabilizing and tourists are booking their trips. Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday that it was New York moves to full opening by July 1, with everything from arenas and gyms to shops and hairdressers returning.
While thousands of New Yorkers are still suffering from the long-term health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and offices are still empty, in very few cases things are returning to normal. This makes people optimistic about the future of the city, which took one of the most difficult and earliest hits in the United States from the new coronavirus.
More than 40% of all New Yorkers – and this includes ineligible children – have already received at least one shot, according to Vaccine tracker Bloomberg. After several months, when vaccination appointments were scarce and difficult to plan, people can now simply enter any city or government facility to take pictures.
For now, the fun stuff is coming back the fastest and strongest.
In recent months, 40-year-old Christina Hansen, a carriage driver in New York, has picked up visitors from California, Texas, Florida and North Carolina in a white-burgundy carriage pulled by her 22-year-old horse King.
“There’s still less business than before, but we’re doing well,” said Hansen, who has been a coach for nine years. “New York is not dead. New York will never be dead. “
Tickets are almost sold out for next week’s frieze art fair in New York, which will attract collectors from all over the country.
At the neighborhood bar and restaurant Reservoir in Greenwich Village, locals will wait about 30 minutes a week to receive a table. The bar and restaurant opened in February after closing for nearly a year.
“To bring back that place you love, especially after you’ve been locked in the house all the time for another year, it has that warmth that made you love New York to get started,” said owner Joe Arongino.
The tank came back with some changes. Arongino renegotiated his rent, updated the cocktail and food menu, and raised prices. Before building his new outdoor interior, he took a walk around the city to get inspired.
The new outdoor patio with TVs and heaters is the largest silver cladding to come out of the pandemic, Arongino said. “There is a very European feeling,” he said. “I hope they never take it away, because it brings a lot more to the city than we’ve ever had before.”
Another crucial element for the return of New York will be tourism. The city expects domestic tourism to recover by 2023 and the total number of tourists to exceed the pre-pandemic level of 66.6 million visitors per year by 2024.
Devin Cooper, 25, of Los Angeles, booked his first trip to New York as soon as company guidelines allowed him to travel without quarantine. Fully vaccinated, he plans to arrive in mid-May.
Although he may not be able to enjoy some of the activities that the city would traditionally offer – Broadway producers hope to open in September – there is more to see and do, Cooper said. He plans to go to Central Park, shop on Fifth Avenue and see the Empire State Building – then play it by ear. “New York doesn’t look dead at all,” he said. “This time I won’t be able to see a Broadway show and I can eat out in restaurants, but that’s a small price to pay for safety during a pandemic.”
And although most of the arts, dining and entertainment that set New York apart from other cities have been revived, the future of work culture and the fate of millions of square feet of office space remains uncertain. The subway is far from crowded. Mayor de Blasio said on Friday that 80,000 city officials are expected to return to their offices on May 3rd, providing an “important indicator” to the private sector to follow suit.
Office staff will be crucial to New York’s long-term return. Some are slowly returning to their desks. An analysis of 68 Manhattan office buildings spanning a number of sectors of Orbital Insight – which developed a way to measure activity levels via satellites and mobile phone data – showed pedestrian traffic at 34% of pre-pandemic activity by the end of March. .
New York will allow offices to increase capacity to 75% on 15 May, compared to 50% currently allowed. Unlike restaurants and cinemas, people do not ask to return. JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday said all workers will be expected in July, but only on a rotating basis.
Mohammad Navid, 47, drives a coffee cart located between the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the offices of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. near Wall Street. The stroller has held the permit on the corner of Murray Street and Greenwich Street for about 20 years. In other words, he can’t just move the cart somewhere else.
It used to be a great place and it sold about 500 coffees a day. Now, on a good day, he sells 30. “The place is empty,” Navid said. “There are no people at all.”
From time to time, Navid says, he will see some of his regular customers stop by for coffee when they accidentally walk into the office. Sometimes it’s every two weeks. Another time is once a month.
During the pandemic, window after window seemed to be emptying, and retail stores were closing. The sector is recovering – faster than many others – but still lagging behind where it was before. But between May and February, 67% of retail jobs returned to New York State, according to the New York State Comptroller’s office.
Retail figures include restaurants. With the outbreak of the pandemic in April 2020, a restaurateur Keith McNally was hospitalized in London for Covid-19. He closed two of his restaurants permanently, but reopened Balthazar in late March.
“For me, and I believe for many New Yorkers, the reopening of Balthazar symbolizes the reappearance of New York,” McNally said in an email to Bloomberg.
Erin McDonnell was a regular at Balthazar during her 10 years living in the city. It was her place to choose for special occasions and the perfect institution in New York to attract visitors out of town. She made a reservation as soon as she heard it open again.
“There was a real fear that such places would disappear – and eventually forever,” McDonnell said after lunch at Balthazar, looking back in tears. “So when he comes back, of course, it’s emotional.”
When she arrived for lunch, she took a seat in the wooden outdoor dining room that occupies most of Spring Street in Soho.
“She feels normal again,” she said. She ordered the homemade fern while she waited for a friend to arrive, and then the pan roasted chicken breasts, a second appetizer. I thought you knew what? We are here, celebrating, eating, drinking and having fun. “
McNally said he did not expect businesses to return to pre-pandemic levels until restaurants and bars could operate at 75% capacity – which Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that it would happen on May 7.
A look at the rental market in Manhattan suggests the early stages of recovery. The number of new active listings has decreased, the number of monthly leases has increased and prices seem to have bottomed out, according to UrbanDigs. There are still twice as many apartments for rent in New York than before the pandemic, keeping prices low, StreetEasy data show.
“The increase in telecommuting has shifted the perspective of many tenants,” said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu. “Instead of strictly looking for an apartment in Manhattan with a short trip to the office, they can afford to explore many other neighborhoods in neighborhoods they may not have considered before because of the long subway trips.”
Tenants can count on finding great deals in at least the next few months, Wu said.
Donovan Davis, a 24-year-old from Staten Island, waited in line at the Supreme store in Bowery for about 15 minutes on Friday to browse the brand’s new spring collection and get a backpack. Davis, a counselor at Wagner College, was recently vaccinated. Detained at home for the past year, he says he didn’t really feel like shopping. So far.
“The weather is warming up,” Davis said. “I’m finally starting to go out and go shopping.”
New Yorkers used to take for granted how crowded the city was. No longer. Davis says the subway isn’t as busy as it used to be. But otherwise the city is alive and feeling normal again, he says.
“Every time I go out, it’s crazy how many people are there,” Davis said.
“With the help of Kate Crader.”