After six glorious weeks in Palm Desert, California, I finally came back to New York City and it’s been fantastic. For so many reasons, I have been quickly reminded why I love this city. Sure, my timing was perfect: I essentially went the entire winter without seeing any snow in New York, despite the multiple winter storms they experienced during the time I was soaking up sun. Even from the moment we arrived back and stepped outside of JFK airport, the sun was shining, and spring was in the air.
What’s been more impressive is how much the city has opened up since we left back in the middle of January. Restaurants have gone from 0% indoor dining to 35% capacity indoors. That regulation change, coupled with the warmer temperatures making patio dining more appealing, has brought people out of the wood-work and back into restaurants, particularly on the weekends.
The parks are boppin’ again, with people taking time on the weekend to chill on a blanket, workout, or kick a ball around in the neighbourhood parks, as well as Central Park and the river parkways.
The warmer temperatures even appear to be brining tourists back to the city, which I didn’t necessarily miss, but it certainly reminds you of the city’s appeal. Open-top bus tours were cruising through midtown Manhattan this weekend with lots of masked patrons snapping pictures of the various landmarks. There’s a lineup again for the Statue of Liberty boats. And even the crazy Elmo, Cookie Monster, Batman and Spiderman were back to their antics in Times Square, hoping to charge tourist parents for a picture with their kids.
All of this sounds a little dangerous in the Covid world, but given the fact that most of these activities are outdoors, and the US has impressively vaccinated over 100 million people, the fact that it puts some level of normal vibes back into this amazing city is energizing. You can see and feel the pep in residents’ steps, and the fact that businesses may have a chance to survive now with longer patio hours, more acceptable temperatures, and looser restrictions on indoor dining, museums and shops, can only be a good thing.
I’m energized just walking around the city again, and can’t wait to explore more new neighbourhoods, check out new restaurants, fight through crowded SoHo streets, and maybe, just maybe, welcome friends and family as visitors once again!
Thanks for reading,