Local Events

COVID Restrictions Lifted

Day 473 and it ends. COVID restrictions have been lifted in New York. Yesterday the governor’s office made the announcement as the state hit the 70% adult vaccination threshold. This means no more social distancing or capacity limits—at least as far as the state is concerned—for sports, malls, gyms, movie theaters, or camps. Health screening is done. So is contact tracing. Despite the many losses of these past 473 days, we expect the city to move to a more celebratory stance, and the latest slate of launches supports that:

New York Tourism Update

As much as it may feel like 2021 is picking up right where 2020 left off, we are already in a different world less than two weeks into the year. Disturbing as the violence last week was—and the threat of more to come—we have seen the resilience of our institutions. Vaccines are rolling out across New York City, with protection newly extended to those 65 and over and those with preexisting conditions. Financial markets are optimistic—and not just the stock market, the bond market is reflecting confidence as well. The interest in travel inspiration is at a pandemic-era high, with July being circled as the hottest travel month of the year. Already we are seeing headlines like “The COVID Vaccine Travel Booking Spree Is On.” A more unified federal government gives hope for necessary relief and top-level organization, accelerating our comeback.

This week  Governor Cuomo has released plans for a New York Arts Revival. Drawing on the recent success of in-person attendance at a Bills playoff game, the strategy will involve easily accessed rapid testing, outdoor venues, new funding for artists, and pop up performances, slated to begin in less than a month. Stay safe for a few more weeks—good things are coming.

Explore the City and Save

We’re All In on NYC’s comeback. That’s why we’re part of All In NYC: Neighborhood Getaways, featuring great offers across all five boroughs. There are hundreds of ways to save, plus a host of new health and safety protocols to help you confidently explore once more.

We are pleased to offer Stay Longer and Save More through March 2021. To redeem, please visit our booking page. See all the offers—and learn how to get up to $100 back as you explore—at nycgo.com/neighborhood-getaways.

New York’s Next Comeback

New York will be back. A thoughtful new report from the Regional Plan Association lays out the most likely scenarios of “New York’s Next Comeback.” There are cautions, like not mistaking short-term disruptions for new paradigms. The report includes strong evidence that density is not a disadvantage, even in coronavirus times; the deterioration of public services and infrastructure is our primary risk. Among the takeaways are five great reasons for betting on our region’s future: 

Urban density is still an advantage in the global economy

Diversity and talent still drive economic success

The New York region’s unique agglomeration of assets is impossible to replicate

New businesses and households will take advantage of vacant space and lower rents

The crisis has been a wake up call to address our structural problems

The RPA, which has advocated for quality of life improvements in the tri-state since 1922, has been through the city’s ups and downs before. The city will come back from this one and there’s an opportunity to come back stronger. 

Fraunces Tavern Returns!

History heads, hoist a pint in celebration: The historic Fraunces Tavern Museum has reopened.This means you can finally stop playing around with the Lego version of the Revolutionary War-era museum and 300-year-old building, or participating in its virtual events, and instead go see the physical museum again (with precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, of course).The reopening of Fraunces Tavern Museum, which features exhibits about the American Revolution and the building’s former inhabitants, including George Washington, also coincides with the first-ever Tavern Week (September 13–20), a celebration of America’s taverns. Which is good news, because the Tavern’s restaurant and pub — considered by some to be the oldest bar in New York City — has been open for outdoor dining since July

NYC Re-opened

As of today, the Governor has okayed the return of shopping malls. You can ski again at Big Snow inside NJ’s American Dream mall. The American Museum of Natural History is back today, as is the Museum of Illustration, joined by VR World and the Morris-Jumel Mansion tomorrow. You can visit the indoor galleries at the New-York Historical Society as of Friday. Saturday welcomes back the 9/11 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Chelsea Flea, the Rubin Museum of Art, and El Museo del Barrio. New York State hasn’t seen a positive test rate of more than 1% since more than a month ago. There’s even a brand-new museum in Manhattan – The Makeup Museum in the Meatpacking district redesigned for a pandemic era audience.

Nationally there’s cause for optimism as well. The TSA processed close to a million travelers last Friday and Monday, for the biggest travel days since early March. The Institute for Applied Positive Research recently completed a survey which shows 97% of respondents reporting that having a trip planned makes them happier. Beyond travel itself, there are serious mental health benefits to just booking a vacation—and with more and more on offer, NYC is prepared for the next wave of travelers.

New York Re-open Now

This week, New York state’s Covid-related hospitalizations dropped to 418, with 109 New Yorkers in ICUs—the lowest numbers we’ve seen since March. The lead up to Labor Day sees plenty of reopenings: Edge is back today after its star turn on the VMAs last weekend. ARTECHOUSE, the Whitney, and Poster House return tomorrow, followed by the Morgan this weekend. Gyms are also back today, speeded along by an initial run of virtual inspections.

2021 could be an epic year for travel. Abbott Laboratories’s new rapid coronavirus test takes 15 minutes and costs $5. It could be a game changer for travel.

As the Times put it yesterday, “if you’re worried about Covid-19, at this point New York is one of the safest places in America.” Not exactly the fiery hellscape some have suggested this week. Happy Labor Day Weekend!

NYC Reopening

When you keep your community transmission rate low good things can happen. New York State is setting records for number of people tested and the results keep coming back the same, with less than 1% positive for the coronavirus. Accordingly, the re-openings are coming fast and furious. This week we’ve got The Statue of Liberty Museum and Ellis Island added to the “safe reopening NYC” file. Dream Downtown has reopened. The Standard High Line will be back September 1. There will even be a Fashion Week next month, albeit a modified one.

We see increasing evidence that the desire to get out and travel tracks closely with infection rates. With those rates going down the latest surveys show upticks in intent to travel. Last week’s “NYC & Company Talks: Recovery Ready—Research Outlook” had multiple data points indicating the worst is already behind us.

There’s been a lot of back and forth over whether “New York is dead forever.” (It’s not) says no other but avid New Yorker Jerry Seinfeld. Also as Steve Cuozzo put it in the Post, we’re seeing “huge office leases by Facebook, AIG, TikTok and Raymond James. In the same period, new leases were signed for a massive new Avra restaurant on Sixth Avenue and for several huge food halls. Major new buildings are going up all over Harlem. Every one of these commitments was made during, not prior to, the COVID crisis.”

There is no substitute for New York. We’re already coming back.

NYC Re-open Now

NYC Tourism Updates

With the state infection rate below 1% for more than 11 days in a row—the rate is lower now than it was in June—the Governor has cleared the way for bowling alleys, cultural institutions, and gyms to open. For the latter it won’t be that easy (they’ll need to pass an inspection and for the foreseeable those inspectors will be focusing on schools), but the roll out is on for some of the city’s favorite draws. Among the public reopening dates we’ve newly added to our “safe reopening NYC” file are Ripley’s (8/26), MoMA (8/27), Fotografiska (8/28), SPYSCAPE (8/28), the American Folk Art Museum (8/28), The Museum of Ice Cream (8/29), Poster House (9/3), the Whitney (9/3), and The New Museum (9/15).

We are getting reports of clusters of tourists out for the first time in months. Although NYC is not the #5 Labor Day flight destination it was in 2019, it still (somehow) cracks the top 20. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson tells investors things bottomed out in June and the worst is over. The latest studies show consumers miss travel so much it takes an emotional toll.

NYC Re-opening Update

Is it time for Phase 4? Things are lining up for the next step on Monday, July 20th. Earlier this week, the positive rate for COVID-19 was 1.08% statewide (in considerable contrast to Florida, which has been running at 15%-20%). On Saturday, NYC recorded zero deaths from coronavirus. The latest map of open restaurants shows over 8,200 options, including more than 4,500 outdoor spots and 57 open streets.

There are so many re-openings in the city it’s getting harder to track. Today Governors Island reopens for the summer, with expanded ferry access points. Tomorrow the High Line returns, with timed ticketing. Come Monday, Circle Line, the Empire State Building, and a to-go version of Smorgasburg will be back. The New York Botanical Garden reopens next week, and the zoos and aquarium are back a week from Friday. City Guide is compiling the latest on coronavirus safety plans and reopening in NYC. 

We believe NYC is well-positioned for Phase 4. And we’re optimistic that scientific breakthroughs may speed up the pace of recovery. A pilot program in the Bronx is testing a 15-minute COVID-19 test. An Israeli team has invented a COVID-19 breathalyzer, which uses frequency to detect the virus. The results come back in seconds. The device went into testing last week, and could be fast-tracked for approval in the U.S. as early as September.