facebook linkedin twitter

‘All Eyes’ on New York: Reopening Tests City Torn by Crises

June 8, 2020by Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press
Tourists visit Times Square in New York in June 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The city that never sleeps had a curfew for much of last week. Famous stores were boarded up after days of unrest. The lights are out on Broadway theaters, and the subway no longer runs overnight.

But after three bleak months, New York City will try to turn a page when it begins reopening Monday after getting hit first by the coronavirus, then an outpouring of rage over racism and police brutality.

With the virus in check — at least for now — New York is easing restrictions that shut down schools, businesses and much of city life in March.

Construction, manufacturing, wholesalers and previously “nonessential” retailers can resume work, with restrictions. Retailers can reopen for delivery and pickup, though customers can’t yet browse inside.

It’s an inflection point as the city tries to get back to business after becoming the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, suffering a surge that killed more than 500 people a day at its early-to-mid-April peak. Overall, more than 21,000 people citywide have died of confirmed or probable COVID-19.

Facing problems that range from creating social distancing on the subway to restoring public confidence in police, can the city regroup? Can New Yorkers?

Edwin Arce thinks so. A chef at a Manhattan restaurant, he was heartened to see more customers than expected when it reopened this week for takeout and delivery.

“As a city, we are ready to be back, start going out, living life — with the new reality, though,” of masks and 6-foot (2-meter) separation, said Arce, 31. “The new normal.”

Sam Solomon wonders how normal that will be.

“I don’t know if it’s ever going to be like it was,” said Solomon, 22, who has a health-related job.

After months of relative isolation, “it’s going to be an adjustment being around so many people,” said the native New Yorker, who never thought she’d have to get used to crowds.

The city has already reawakened somewhat as warm weather drew people outdoors, more restaurants offered carryout service, and most recently, as thousands of people marched in protests sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Subway ridership is ticking back up after plunging from 5.4 million rides per weekday in February to under 450,000 in April, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says.

Commuters will find subway schedules back to usual Monday, with signs showing people how far apart to stand — or try to — on platforms. The 1 a.m.-to-5 a.m. shutdowns that began in early May will continue so trains can be cleaned.

But as the city tries to recover economically, will the virus strike back?

“It’s going to be a big test,” said Dr. Bruce Polsky, a city resident who is chairman of medicine at NYU Winthrop Hospital in suburban Mineola.

Months of social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing, shock and fear have made New Yorkers better prepared to keep the coronavirus under control, health experts said.

Yet Dr. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist who had COVID-19 himself in March, is concerned the virus might spread at the protests following Floyd’s May 25 death.

The virus’ toll — in lives, despair and exhaustion — weighs on him: “It’s very difficult to see how we recover.”

Some retailers, meanwhile, boarded up stores after demonstrations were marred by a few nights of smash-and-grab thefts in Manhattan and some other areas last week.

Saks Fifth Avenue girded its windows with plywood, chain-link fence and razor wire. Macy’s says it’s “taking things day by day” concerning when to start curbside service at its iconic flagship store, which was broken into a week ago.

An 8 a.m.-to-5-p.m. curfew was lifted Sunday, a day earlier than initially planned.

After all the loss and sacrifice, Monday’s milestone comes when public attention is focused on the protests, demands for police reform and anger over officers’ conduct toward demonstrators.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, vowed Sunday to speed discipline for problem officers and shift some money from policing to social services. But he also emphasized Monday’s reopening as “a moment that every New Yorker should celebrate.”

Urban policy expert Jonathan Bowles questions whether the city has been clear enough about what’s safe and what to expect.

“All eyes will be on New York this next couple of months,” said Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “The city now has to prove that it really knows what it’s doing, that it can still be a dense city like New York and yet figure this out.”

Of course, New York City has had to prove itself before — after its population decline and fiscal crisis in the 1970s, after its 1980s-’90s crime peak, after 9/11.

“You can’t keep us down,” says Carlo Scissura, president of the New York Building Congress, a construction-industry group. “We may go down a little bit, but we go right back up.”

___

Associated Press Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson contributed from Washington state.

Cities

September 15, 2021
by Dan McCue
Cleveland Mayoral Contest Now Down to Two

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After months of campaigning in a crowded field, two finalists emerged Tuesday night as the voters’ potential... Read More

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After months of campaigning in a crowded field, two finalists emerged Tuesday night as the voters’ potential choice to become Cleveland's next mayor.  Justin Bibb, chief strategy officer with technology firm Urbanova, garnered 27.1% of the mayoral primary vote, while Cleveland City Council... Read More

September 15, 2021
by Victoria Turner
Demystifying Smart Cities: The Tech is Here to Deploy Smart Solutions

WASHINGTON -- Cities that have been investing in technology to someday become Smart Cities have been able to react, adapt... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Cities that have been investing in technology to someday become Smart Cities have been able to react, adapt and meet the digital challenges brought on by the pandemic quicker than those that have not, said Patti Zullo, senior director of Smart City Solutions at... Read More

September 15, 2021
by Dan McCue
Boston Voters Send Moderate, Progressive to November Showdown for Mayor

BOSTON, Mass. -- Michelle Wu, an Asian American progressive and Annissa Essaibi George, a moderate, appear to be the last... Read More

BOSTON, Mass. -- Michelle Wu, an Asian American progressive and Annissa Essaibi George, a moderate, appear to be the last candidates left standing after Tuesday’s preliminary mayoral election in Boston, and will now face each other in November when the city definitively chooses its next mayor.... Read More

September 14, 2021
by Dan McCue
Boston Voters to Choose Next Mayor from Most Diverse Candidate Pool Ever

BOSTON, Mass. -- Voters in Boston are casting their ballots for mayor on Tuesday, choosing from the most diverse mayoral... Read More

BOSTON, Mass. -- Voters in Boston are casting their ballots for mayor on Tuesday, choosing from the most diverse mayoral slate in the city’s fabled history. The Sept. 14 vote, of course, is just the city’s preliminary mayoral election, intended to pare the field down from... Read More

September 9, 2021
by Dan McCue
DC Would Need to Plant 626K+ Trees Annually to Be Carbon Neutral

WASHINGTON -- The nation’s capital would need to plant 626,557 trees annually to be a carbon neutral city, a new... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The nation’s capital would need to plant 626,557 trees annually to be a carbon neutral city, a new study finds. The analysis, by comparethemarket.com, pegs Washington, D.C.’s annual carbon emissions at 3,132,786 pounds. It then calculated the number of trees needed every year to... Read More

Ground Zero Rebuilding Still Unfinished, 20 Years Later

NEW YORK (AP) — Two decades after its destruction in the Sept. 11 attacks, the work to rebuild the World... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — Two decades after its destruction in the Sept. 11 attacks, the work to rebuild the World Trade Center complex remains incomplete. Two planned skyscrapers, a performing arts center and a church are still unfinished at the site, which plays host Saturday to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top