Leaving New York City

Suddenly, the city that never sleeps begins to sleep strangely. Apartment layouts are at a record high, more than 1,200 restaurants are closed, and Wall Street bigwigs are doing their job out of Greenwich or the Hamptons.

Why it matters: New York City is a success story in defeating COVID-19, but many of its richest and most successful residents have fled, some of them never to return.

The news ride: While the city typically exits in August, with well-meaning New Yorkers taking vacations or moving to their second homes, this time feels different:

  • So many people are flying out of town permanently that overworked relocation companies are “turning people around,” per NYT.
  • Earlier in the pandemic, people tried to escape COVID-19. More recent reasons include permanent work-from-all arrangements, the prospect of safer personal schools outside the city, and fears of looting and gun violence.

The impact: There are more than 13,000 vacant apartments in Manhattan, and mercenaries offer unheard of discounts.

  • The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is helpless, and ridership is in a tailspin – despite the fact that subway cars shine unnaturally.
  • In an echo of the 1970s, homelessness, violent crime and urban weight are on the rise.
  • The Empire State Building suffers as tenants evacuate and tourists stay away.
  • Hamilton, Shmamilton: Broadway will be closed by at least January.

“There’s no reason to do business in New York,” Michael Weinstein of Ark Restaurants, which owns the famous Bryant Park Grill & Cafe, told the New York Times. “I can do the same volume in Florida on the same square feet as I would have in New York, with my expenses much less.”

  • While Bryant Park Grill & Cafe remains open (for outdoor dining only), Weinstein said he would never open another restaurant in New York.
  • With tourists and office workers largely gone, Keith McNally has fired Augustinus, the popular eatery Financial District, and Thomas Keller has closed TAK Room and Bouchon Bakery in Hudson Yards, the trendy new neighborhood of West Side.

Where it says: A throwdown between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s unions over the massive lack of municipal budget in New York could make matters much worse.

  • The Blasio has called on Albany and Washington for relief, but so far it has been heard, “Speak by hand.”
  • He threatens to burn 22,000 city workers, unless unions agree to cut $ 1 billion in labor costs.
  • Meanwhile, trash is piling up in city parks, the city’s EMS union chief says “people will die” if first responders are cut, and New York teachers have threatened a disease to protest Blasio’s plan to shut down schools at 10 sept. To open.

The former New Yorker in the White House has been notably unsympathetic.

  • “The crime and chaos in cities with democratic governance have become so bad that liberals themselves come from the Upper West Side of Manhattan,” President Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

What to see: When cold weather arrives, New Yorkers are debating: will things get any worse? And how long?

Pessimists include James Altucher, writer, former hedge funder and comedy club owner, who claimed in a LinkedIn post that “New York is dead forever.”

  • “Companies are remote and they do not come back to the office,” he wrote. “And it’s a death spiral: the longer offices remain empty, the longer they will remain empty.”

Optimists include Andrew Hacker, professor at Queens College, Upper West Sider and author of a new Trump book called “Downfall,” which tells Axios that the city will bounce back.

  • “What New York will really save is immigrants,” says Hacker, who has taught many generations of political science.
  • While many New Yorkers are leaving, “there in Bangalore and Ukraine and Natal, there are people who want New Yorkers” who would like to take their place, and bring their ambition and brainpower.
  • Hacker welcomes these volunteer New Yorkers: “I only want people in the city who want to be here.”