New York’s patchwork recovery masks vast inequalities exposed by Covid | new York
For most of the last year, Manhattan’s iconic yellow cabs have been a rarity on avenues and side streets. Now, as the city recovers and office workers begin to return, they too are returning – but not yet on a pre-pandemic scale. At the same time, the city is congested with traffic.
A mosaic of indicators suggests that the recovery from a pandemic that struck hard and early, caused nearly 30,000 deaths in a population of 8.4 million and placed the metropolis in an economic freeze will be equally uneven.
The area indicators – yellow cabs, crowded restaurants, celebrating NYU students in Washington Square Park, Bruce Springsteen on Broadway – are in their way nothing but masks for the social and economic disparities already present but exposed by the onset of the pandemic and the corresponding racial demands and economic equality that followed.
The complexity of the New York recovery will take years to unravel. Before the pandemic, Americans spent 5% of their working time at home. In spring 2020, the figure was 60%. It was a seismic change that hit Manhattan particularly hard. The New York City Partnership predicts that only 62% of office workers will return, mostly three days a week, by September.