Corona in New York: Between Utopia and Apocalypse

NNew York, the ghost town that is on the decline and even on the way into chaos: There is no lack of drastic images of the future of the metropolis these days. The Coronavirus It has been contained to some extent, but now concerns are more of the returnees from former refuge states such as Florida, which are now hotspots of the pandemic. Many people use the respite before the almost inevitable second wave of contagion to enjoy a summer that is as relaxed as possible. And yet many residents are worried about what their city will look like in the future, which has become the epicenter of a major crisis for the third time in this century. After September 11, 2001 and after the 2008 financial crisis, many predicted an unprecedented decline in New York. But the city and its real estate market not only recovered every time. Those who had money were able to increase it again, not least thanks to generous government rescue programs.

Resilience is the trademark of New York City, raved the business magazine “Forbes” recently. The city could also survive Corona because lifestyles adapted to the changed situation, as they would have done after the financial crisis, for example through the boom in so-called co-working spaces. Optimists are seeing the first signs of this in the many closed streets that have been turned into open-air restaurants. But this crisis is likely to hit the city far harder than any previous one. After all, New Yorkers have so far mourned 23,000 deaths, culture and tourism had to be completely paralyzed, the unemployment rate is almost twenty percent. The economy is doing worse than it has been since the 1970s, when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. As then, New York is seeing an increase in firearms crime. The 65 million tourists who come every year are indefinitely missing a source of income, and even the most elegant hotels make do with offers of seventy dollars a night. And luxury property developers who have done brilliant business in recent years now have to admit that the word “ghost town” is the closest to their neighborhoods like Hudson Yards.

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