New York City Is Roaring Back to Life, One Year After Its Nadir


Rush hour traffic is back. Noise complaints are picking up. And it’s once again difficult to score a reservation at your favorite brunch spot.

When the pandemic emptied New York City’s streets last year, some declared it dead. But after a terrible, painful year, the city is now defying those declarations — and getting its mojo back.

More than half of adult New Yorkers have had at least one vaccine shot, and Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are dropping sharply. Museums are back to 50% capacity, and movie theaters are at 33%. You can finally sit at the bar for a drink starting Monday, and subways will return to 24-hour service on May 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Shakespeare in the Park” is coming back, albeit with an abridged schedule.

Parks and outdoor areas — safer places, of course, to congregate during an airborne pandemic — have been jammed. People are starting to take their masks off outside, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Central Park, Prospect Park and Washington Square Park have all surpassed their pre-pandemic crowd levels, according to Orbital Insight, a data company that tracks the movement of goods and people.