New York

Data reflects pre- and post-pandemic economic realities in midtown and lower Manhattan

new york — In March 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, Times Square It was deserted.

The same place is now crowded with people.

“Visitor demand is stagnating and we’re seeing huge numbers of visitors coming to Times Square,” said Karen Chapple, director of the Urban Displacement Project.

The Urban Displacement Project tracked cell phone data. Midtown and lower Manhattan data show cell phone pings at locations such as offices, stores, and public transit. We compared pre- and post-pandemic data for the two regions.

“We have two employment centers in New York: Lower Manhattan and Midtown,” Chapple says.

Four years of data show economic recovery in these regions is at 74% of 2019 levels.

Cities relying on offices and tech workers are getting bigger and more dense, experts say. Struggling with remote work continues.

We took a closer look at Lower Manhattan, near Wall Street, and spoke with some of the people who work in the area.

“I like being in the office on a hybrid schedule, like three days a week,” says Brandon Hahn.

“I don’t want to go back five days a week,” said Francisco Corrado.

“It’s sad to see so many shops have closed. They look a lot different than they used to,” said Ari Partanen.

At the Fulton Stall Market South Street SeaportJacqueline Joseph says her regulars are now a rarity.

“Now they go home a few days, maybe once a week,” Joseph said.

To make ends meet, many food vendors want their office workers back full-time.

“Five days,” said a stall clerk named Rudy.

CBS News took the data a step further and analyzed the jobs that declined the most from 2019 to 2022. CBS News also tracked job growth by industry across five boroughs.

Not surprisingly, the restaurants, hotels, arts and entertainment industries are still trying to make up 20-30%.

“The pandemic, of course, was devastating to everyone in the city, but it was especially devastating to arts and cultural institutions,” said Anna Frenkel of the South Street Seaport Museum.

Frenkel says new customers are pouring in.

“Tourist demand to New York City is actually making up for workers staying at home,” Frenkel said.

Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance in New York City, says pedestrian numbers in the area have increased 80% since last year, and the number of new businesses in lower Manhattan has actually surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

“We started more businesses in 2022 than we did in 2019. So obviously there was a shakeout and not everyone survived. But we were not only stable, we really grew. We had 150 businesses last year, compared to 105 in 2018,” said Lappin. “Everybody wants to blame everything on the pandemic. Unfortunately, we were in the midst of a retail crisis. Hello Amazon. He had over 20% vacancy in the area.”

Lappin says the key to success is finding creative solutions to empty spaces.

Fitness trainer Stephen Frank turned an empty harbor store into a new boxing business.

“We’re still building. We see a lot of new faces every day,” said Frank.

Professionals in reimagining and rezoning business districts for mixed use can help transform business districts and get people back to 100%.

We reached out to the city to discuss the data, but did not hear back. Data reflects pre- and post-pandemic economic realities in midtown and lower Manhattan

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