New York City is in deep, deep trouble. It was a perfect storm of bad leadership, fast internet, and an easily transmitted but not very deadly virus for younger, healthier people.
Full disclosure – I lived in NYC from 2005 to 2013 and I really enjoyed most of my time there. I liked going to see off Broadway shows. I would occasionally take a Saturday and go visit the Met or the Guggenheim. I really, really loved the food scene. I’m a foodie and I very rarely ate at the same restaurant more than once.
Everyone wanted to be there and because of that it was outrageously expensive. One of the reasons I left was I knew I would never be able to afford an apartment. I wanted a one bedroom in a nice area of Manhattan (preferably Upper West Side). I work from home so having some space was important. I did a lot of looking and I was finding places I liked for $750,000 – $1.2 million which I couldn’t have afforded.
I had heard that because so many people had left NYC that it was now much more affordable. I decided to jump on Zillow and take a look and I was amazed. One bedroom / one bathrooms in midtown are going for $200,000. That is amazing. I even found some Upper West Side properties that would have been acceptable for less than $450,000. Also note just the sheer volume of properties that are available. Thank goodness I didn’t buy a place.
I still have friends there and I recently found out my friend’s wife had stopped taking the subway. I assumed this was due to covid but she told me no – it was for her safety. She has switched to walking or Ubers.
New York City has a $9 billion budget deficit, and the state deals with a $30 billion budget deficit. New York City is now bracing for 22,000 layoffs, and the state has instituted a salary freeze and slashed $4 billion from its budget. Both Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo refuse to reopen so you can expect those budget deficits to increase. I wonder if AOC has rethought her position on chasing Amazon away.
And why, exactly, is DeBlasio so concerned about re-opening parts of NYC, like indoor dining? Is it because of the virus, for which Cuomo announced record low hospitalization numbers last week? No, it's because, well. . . he doesn't want some people to feel bad that they may not be able to enjoy indoor dining.
Can the city be turned around? It’s possible but certainly not under current leadership. Will New Yorkers rise up and vote surprisingly? We’ve seen it happen before with Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Anything is possible. Let’s hope NYC comes back from the brink.