The COVID pandemic has killed practically 23,000 New Yorkers, sickened 229,000 extra, destroyed corporations and place tens of millions out of do the job. But the new metropolis that will increase on the ruins claims to be — is it permissible to say? — a happier place than the overcrowded, overheated mosh pit of a city that it had turn into.
I’d gladly just take back again the old city with all its in-your-face congestion if it would carry back a solitary existence missing. But considering that that is not doable, I consider convenience in the by now apparent hints of a gentler, a lot more humane upcoming. There will be a new style for breathing area as soon as the bug is overwhelmed.
I enjoy crowds. They are component of the city’s DNA. They exist for the reason that our fantastic museums, restaurants, parks and enjoyment venues are so a great deal in need. But in the final two decades, unparalleled prosperity flowed in from all around the globe. At the exact time, Metropolis Hall turned streets into “plazas” and bash grounds.
These twin phenomena produced our general public spaces dense to the breaking place, in no way thoughts the hurt to neighborhoods — or people’s sanity. So several overlapping parades, street fairs, avenue races, fireworks exhibits and cycling events built each and every weekend a obstacle to get anyplace, regardless of whether by taxi, bus or foot.
With anyone chasing the identical thrill, it took endlessly to invest in a avenue-truck taco in Midtown or to find room to splash in the child-welcoming fountains at Williamsburg’s Domino Park.
We all want travelers and company vacationers again. But 70 million a year overwhelmed significant-end retailers, restaurants and the High Line Park. We depended also much on them to pump $45 billion into our annual economic system. City Corridor should uncover other strategies to pay its bills.
The COVID aftermath will slender the compression of so a lot of human bodies into a one room. My mate who recovered from a intense situation of the disorder considered she caught it on the East 53rd Road subway system that was so dangerously overcrowded due to no-clearly show trains that “I smelled sickness in the air.”
Now, the subways are additional bearable than they’ve been due to the fact Fiorello La Guardia was mayor, thanks to the bold stroke of shutting them down for cleaning among 1-4 a.m. — when they were applied by a mere 1.5 per cent of weekday riders. Let’s keep them that way, irrespective of our nostalgia for “the city that by no means sleeps.”
At the remaining overall performance of “Company” at the Bernard J. Jacobs Theatre on the evening right before Broadway shut down, my intermission journey to the men’s space entailed a tense, 20-minute hold out on a snaking, bodies-girding line in the property basement. It was unacceptable even pre-virus, but the form of dehumanizing encounter (at $300 a ticket!) we experienced all been forced to suck up. The present shutdown offers theater house owners time to determine out how to deal with this dilemma. (Now, New York park-goers are exploring the pleasures of acquiring far more room to spread out — absolutely, we can do the exact indoors, as well.)
Pre-COVID, restaurant-heading experienced turn into a chore to endure. Whether or not at 300-seat Cathedrale in the East Village or at 50-seat Ernesto’s on the Lower East Side, bodies ended up scrunched collectively without mercy. And did I mention loud? But today’s expanded al-fresco dining scene with safely-spaced tables is a joyful, superior-summertime antidote to the “dead city” narrative. It’s less pretentious and significantly less rowdy than scene- and development-pushed indoor having at any time was.
The friendlier vibe ought to be allowed to prevail after we can go within once more. Social-distancing regulations will tame the tumult, even if house owners complain they can not make income devoid of squeezing in buyers like anchovies in a can.
Our new normal will also reward from the return of New Yorkers who fled to summer months residences but quietly yearn to return. They’ll locate a city for good improved from what they recall, and be glad for it.