Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Can New York City Recover?

New York is down, but is it down for the count? Despite our remarkable prophetic powers, we do not know. 

To understand the situation I am posting a link to a splendid article by Nicole Gelinas in the City Journal. (via Maggie’s Farm) It’s the best analysis of the current state of my city. 

It is well worth your time, so I will only post the opening paragraphs. Gelinas is slightly optimistic, but she notes that it depends on political and civic leadership. Good luck with that.

In her words:

In normal times, New York’s urban tapestry is made of sturdy material. Each thread tends to reinforce the others. Well-paid midtown office workers grab lunch and later get a haircut on their way home. Japanese tourists support Broadway, and Broadway, with its need for costumes, supports the Garment District. Programmers and graphic designers living in Brooklyn earn money from tech firms and banks in Manhattan. Business travelers support hotels. Hotel housekeepers take the money that they earn in midtown back to grocery stores in Queens and the Bronx. The Staten Island firefighter depends on tax revenues generated from this intertwined activity to pay his mortgage. Pull a thread out, and the fabric weakens. In early February, New York got a hint of this, when the first United States Covid-19 border closure, to Chinese visitors, left the Broadway box office down 4 percent.

The Covid-19 pandemic, and New York’s response to it, eventually ripped apart most of these threads. As the city’s multiple industries try to patch things together, urban complexity makes New York not more resilient but more fragile, at least for now. New York neighborhoods have varying layers of complexity, from close-knit outer-borough enclaves, whose residents eat and shop within walking distance, to midtown Manhattan, which depended, pre-Covid, on nearly 4 million daily visitors from around the world for its success. The less complex the neighborhood, the more straightforward its short-term recovery, provided the city implements the right policies. Midtown, as the most complex, is now the most vulnerable to a faltering recovery. The city, with state and federal backing, must enact the right policies to revive midtown, too.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Well, as I've said elsewhere, when you have a Democrat Governor and a Democrat Mayor, you're in a losing proposition. Be a good time to "get out of Dodge", as the westerns said it.