Except for a few years spent in England and New Haven, CT, I’ve lived in NYC all my life. I also spent all of the past year during the pandemic here — hunkered down on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. I tried to walk every day, weather permitting, but almost all of my masked walks were within 2 miles of my apartment.
It was truly painful and depressing to see the storefronts becoming vacant on any of my walks along the commercial streets of the Upper West Side. Mercifully, I haven’t seen too many new ones becoming dark in the past few months. The greatest decline seemed to happen in the spring and summer last year, as New York City was struggling with Covid. At times, that struggle almost seemed like a death spiral.
Things definitely seem to be on the upswing now that at least about a quarter of us are vaccinated and there’s the current promise of more vaccines and much expanded vaccination appointments.
The American Rescue Plan Act is also a significant life preserver in many categories, including offering meaningful small business assistance.
I hope that the next Mayor of the City prioritizes its economic revival. It would be nice to have a bustling city again.