New York City, the once epicenter of the covid pandemic, will open on July 1, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. After over a year of casualties, deaths, fear and anxiety, the city is coming back.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe television show, de Blasio happily announced “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open,” and Broadway theaters, a major tourist attraction, are slated to soon operate at “full strength.” The goal is to get life back to where it was before the pandemic said the Mayor.
New York City has always been seen as the place to be. Manhattan represented the business and commerce center of the United States. People moved to New York to enjoy the diversity of people, top-tier restaurants, museums, opera, clubs, bars, concerts, Broadway shows, a wide array of attractions, plentiful job opportunities and a high-energy, fast-paced environment.
Once the pandemic hit, everything changed. Some of the strictest lockdown restrictions were placed on the city’s businesses and residents. The once crowded streets became deserted.
Many people found themselves stuck in small, cramped apartments, as they were ordered to stay at home. The restaurants, clubs, gyms, hair salons, museums, concerts and sporting events abruptly closed down. There were reports of increases in lawlessness and crime.
Residents started questioning why they are paying so much money for rent when they can’t avail themselves to all of the offerings of Manhattan and are afraid of going outside. As they lost their jobs, city dwellers had to wrestle with paying a large amount of their salaries in housing costs and taxes, while either not having a job or holding onto their positions for dear life. Roughly 300,000 residents fled New York according to the U.S. Postal Service.
A large number of the people who left were wealthy and could afford to purchase large homes in the nearby suburbs of New Jersey and Connecticut, the Hamptons or Long Island. With the ability to work remotely, people migrated to lower-cost, warm-weather states with low taxes.
Businesses started relocating their offices out of New York too. Investment banking giant, Goldman Sachs, planned to move its large money management division to Florida. The absence of a state income tax, plus warm weather and a business-friendly mindset, prompted hedge fund billionaires and native New Yorkers Paul Singer and Carl Icahn to relocate their respective businesses to Florida. Leon Cooperman, the billionaire former hedge fund manager and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, previously moved to Florida. He said of his move, “I suspect Florida will soon rival New York as a finance hub,” due in part to the “Tax and Spend” policies of New York.
James Altucher, a widely followed podcast host and best-selling author, wrote a provocative piece, entitled, “NYC IS DEAD FOREVER… HERE’S WHY.” In the post, Altucher said, “I love NYC. When I first moved to NYC, it was a dream come true. Every corner was like a theater production happening right in front of me. So much personality, so many stories.” He continued, “Now it’s completely dead.” Altucher claims the City is in a “death spiral” and won’t bounce back.
Comedian and quintessential New Yorker, Jerry Seinfeld, answered Altucher back in a New York Times op-ed piece. Seinfeld wrote, “I will never abandon New York City. Ever.” He proclaimed, “Energy, attitude and personality cannot be ‘remoted’ through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.” Seinfeld goes on to say, “Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City. Feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again.”
It looks like Seinfeld was right. New York is making a comeback. “This is going to be the summer of New York City,” the mayor said. “You’re going to see amazing activities, cultural activities coming back. I think people are going to flock to New York City, because they want to live again.”
In the long running pettiness battle between the Mayor and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor said he would like to see the city reopen before July. Cuomo said “I don’t want to wait that long. I think if we do what we have to do we can reopen earlier.”
Once New York reopens, other cities will follow. They’ll feel that if New York, which bore the brunt of the disease, can open, why couldn’t we do the same? From a competitive standpoint, nearby cities and states in the surrounding areas such as Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will feel the pressure to speedily reopen too. If they don’t, they’ll lose business to New York. This trend will occur throughout the country. Business owners will demand of their elected officials to loosen restrictions and allow them to reopen as well.
As the economy reopens there will be a demand for workers. The job market will start to heat up. It will then be only a matter of time until America is back to where we were before the pandemic, and we may even do better than that in the near future.