New York City Officials, Companies Hoping for a Post-COVID Pandemic Summer of Tourists

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — With the unofficial start of summer just around the corner, officials and business owners across New York City are hoping for a post-pandemic rebound that could kick off this Memorial Day holiday weekend.

While it looked normal in Times Square on Friday, with costumed characters, the Naked Cowboy and every other spectacle in between, the city hopes to return to the pre-pandemic days of low crime and high tourist traffic.

Pedestrian traffic in Times Square is down 16.8% from the same time in 2019.

“We see more than 300,000 people passing through Time Square every day, peaking at 340,000,” said Joe Papa of the Times Square Alliance. “That goes back to our pre-pandemic levels of 2019.”

The Alliance said they are getting hot with new programs designed specifically to attract more tourists, such as a DJ set on Tuesdays and live comedy on Wednesdays.

But crime and fear remain a barrier to restoring the Big Apple to its former glory.

“It was bad,” said entrepreneur Danny Khan. “Shoplifting came in. We couldn’t do anything… But things are better now.”

Mayor Eric Adams spoke about the matter on Thursday.

“We’re working on this,” he said. “We rolled out our metro plan. We showed what we were doing about shoplifting and what we want to continue to do.”

However, some entrepreneurs indicated that they had little confidence in the mayor’s plan. Others still do.

“He’s cleaning up, he’s doing well,” Khan said. “I think he’s doing well.”

As for the return to work, New York City offices could be half full by September, the head of the Partnership for New York City said after meeting business leaders.

“There is good news about the efforts of the mayor and the NYPD to fight gun violence and crime,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City. “But at the same time, the mayor stressed that in recent years there has been a sense of lawlessness, disrespect for the law and for the police. And it will not go away without all of us working together to reduce crime and working together to protect our city.” make you feel safe.”

She said company executives were shocked by the fatal shooting of 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez on a Q train Sunday.

“Obviously this week has been a terrible week,” said MTA chairman and CEO Janno Lieber. “This week I can’t tell any of the subway travelers in New York not to be afraid, because what happened is a terrifying nightmare.”

The Partnership for New York City says 94% of workers are concerned about their safety, especially on public transportation, when they return to the office.

“We need to send a signal that this is a city of law and order,” Adams said. “Not a city of illegality and disorder.”

New York City lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to office occupancy, and officials say feeling safe for employees is key to New York City’s economic success.

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