NYC is Not Dead

Friends. I come before you tonight, hat in hand, ready to eat a little humble pie, if you will.

You see, throughout the pandemic, I have boldly, loudly, unabashedly and perhaps a little too gleefully proclaimed that “NYC is DEAD.”

Which, was definitely true, and arguably, still is…the jury’s out.

I mean, according to cell phone location data taken by Descartes Labs, nearly half a million people left Manhattan during the pandemic.

Which, I could definitely feel. My building had only a 30% occupancy rate during the height of COVID, my boyfriend’s building was just the same.

And still to this day, all but two apartments on the wing of my floor are for sale. Not to mention the rent prices are at historic lows, because there’s so much vacancy in the city.

But it was definitely dead as a doornail. Time Square was deserted. Steven and I would ride our bikes through that iconic block of flashing lights and tourism, and we’d be the only ones there!

I’d walk down the street and storefront after storefront after storefront was empty, with “For-Rent” signs on the window. Businesses closed. Restaurants that were historic mainstays in the neighborhood had to shutter their doors for good, as they just couldn’t sustain an existence without customers.

I mean, I would literally jog down the middle of the West Side Highway with zero traffic just one year ago to date.

However, I stand here as your resident New Yorker, who weathered the pandemic from my 500 square foot studio apartment, pleased to announce that NYC is no longer dead. It is slowly coming back.

To date, there have been 6,174,393 vaccinations administered, and as those numbers rise, so do people’s confidence to “get back out there” in circulation.

That, and I think quarantined people have reached their threshold of loneliness and are on the verge of becoming cat ladies or video game addicts, and therefore are desperate to start socializing again.

But this past Saturday, my special gentleman – Steven – and I walked from Midtown to Greenwhich village (an hour walk), and were absolutely shocked by the sheer number of people that were out. Shocked! Washington Square Park was, legitimately standing room only. The lawns were a sea of picnic blankets – probably only about 2 inches apart from one another, with parties of eight to ten young people all sharing wine, soaking up the spring sun, and just being social!

There was live music in the streets, lovers hand in hand on park benches — even pan handlers were back, interrupting you for cash. And heck – I was even happy to see them!

And the restaurants….packed.

Photo: Time Out NYC

Here’s the thing: yes, a lot of restaurants were sadly, unable to weather the pandemic storm. But there were two types that miraculously did: a) $1 Pizza Slice joints, and b) restaurants that took full advantage of their outdoor sidewalk/street space and offered a truncated version of their menu. And sidenote: those dollar slice joints are like the cockroaches of restaurants….they do not die! I don’t know how you can survive on profit margins of a dollar slice, but they’re open 24 hours a day, and somehow, making ends meet!

But let me tell ya – on Saturday, Steven and I, along with another friend, we went to three different restaurant/bars, enjoying drinks and appetizers, and it was just so nice to be out in the mix again. And how amazing that there’s a hustle/bustle again!

Praise God!

But.

Here’s the real talk.

NYC might not be dead, but it is certainly on life support. Sure, it’s got wild and free millenials ready to mix and mingle among their vaccinated selves, however, New York City is in a world of hurt. Still.

Homelessness is at a record high. There is a soup kitchen/free food distribution center in my neighborhood that gives out food every Tuesday and Saturday, and throughout the pandemic, I have watched the line grow and grow. What started as maybe 10 people in line, now has hundreds and hundreds of people showing up for canned goods. They start lining up the night before to get in line.

And those real estate vacancies are no joke. Boarded up storefronts mean deserted streets, which are hot beds for New York’s biggest issue right now: crime.

The crime in New York right now has absolutely skyrocketed.

I am subscribed to the neighborhood “Citizen” app, which alerts you to reported incidents around you, and I’m telling you – all hours of every day and night, that thing is going off with alerts of a stabbing, a robbery, a knife fight, a mugging, a shooting. It is frankly, terrifying. And so, yes, there are people out during the day, but once those restaurants close at dark, people flee like you’ve never seen. And the city becomes something I’ve never before seen in my ten years living here: quiet.

Why?

Because when the country turned its back on the police during the summer of 2020, in a sprit of “woke solidarity,” the NYPD cut $1 BILLION dollars from its budget, and the effects are being felt now in a terrible, terrible way. That, coupled with the the current climate against officers, has NYPD officers — and officers across the country — walking off the force and retiring early at staggering rates. Staggering.

And that is what is going to have to be rectified if NYC is ever to truly return to what it once was.

So. Can I officially say that New York City is no longer dead? Mayyyybe not just quite yet.

Sure, it’s starting to return socially, but economically, law and order-wise, fiscally — it still has a long, difficult road ahead.

So that’s your update from Manhattan. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go grocery shopping before it gets dark and I dead bolt my door for the night.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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97 thoughts on “NYC is Not Dead

    1. You’re absolutely right about that, Paula. I am hopeful that we’re on a path in the right direction! Thank you for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    2. So true. All hands must be on deck to bring, love, life and light back to NYC.

      It begins with love for one another. Peace, prosperity and security are possible in an atmosphere of love.

  1. So true about the crime. I live nearby in Hudson County NJ and I avoid the city for that reason these days. Here it’s very safe yet close. You might like it. NYC defunding the cops was insanity and all the old school new Yorkers I know are against it. It’s transplants who voted for it I think. Glad they didn’t do that in NJ.

    1. Thank you friend – yeah it is really concerning to say the least! I don’t know WHAT they were thinking cutting spending like that. Me too. You’re lucky! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you friend! I appreciate that. Yes! Prayers for our city!! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Mama Lava! Yes! Amen! I am too. His hands are the best place to be! Hugs and love xox

  2. It must feel surreal. Our country is gradually opening up at different rates in different regions. But London had a similar, but probably smaller exodus of young folk who had to move home temporarily. Rents are more competitive I’m told. But the streets were deserted. I hope the situation improves where you are. We’ve had many protests & riots here over the past year. Some handled well, others not so. We all need to pull together for life to get on a better footing. Stay safe!💕

    1. It truly does feel absolutely surreal. I hope London bounces back soon. I hate to hear about the riots. Makes me so sad. I agree! Hugs and love xox

  3. Hi Caralyn! Missed reading your posts. I’ve been lacking quiet time reading these days. Its scary regarding NYC’s crime growth. I’m glad I visited when police were honored and respected. I roamed the streets of Midtown in the wee hours of the night with my best friend with no fear. I wouldn’t visit a speak easy bar at night these days for anything. Happy you’ve found your special guy! I knew you would. Blessings to you both beautiful young lady!! 🙏 ❤️

    1. Hi Giselle! It’s so great to “see” you! Yeah the crime rate is startling and terrifying. Yeah, you definitely came at a good time! New York, sadly is not like that right now. Yeah, thank goodness I have my handsome gentleman to make sure I get home safe at night. And yes!! Thank you 🙂 I feel so blessed to have him in my life! Great to catch up! Have a wonderful night! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Kristie for your kind words! Yes! Prayers for New York! Hugs and love xox

  4. I love your writing so much. I will pray for New York, my children’s life blood, your neighborhood. Your life. May new things grow…and by new things I mean the love of Christ, the dignity, respect and honor for those who serve. Oh how I pray for the restoration of our whole country to bow before God!!! HE has all the answers. Thank you. Brilliant article!

    1. Hi Laurie! Oh gosh thank you for you kind words! And yes – joining you in those prayers. New York needs them!! Amen! I pray those things grow too. Amen amen amen!! He is the solution! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Alice. Me too – I pray that NYC can come around. I really is. I love it with my heart and it pains me to see it hurting so much. Hugs and love xox

  5. Hi Caralyn. God Bless you and Steven Abundantly. I am so happy for you. I know I have not responded, or even read many of your posts for ages. I have been going through difficult times health wise again. Along with the pandemic causing changes to all, being the P.O.A. for my nephew, and all things concerning him and his condition, besides doing some Bible reading during the day, I am feeling too tired and unfocused to read anything. And I sleep a lot.

    Anyway, I saw the notification of your post tonight, and wanted to write and say how thrilled I am for you and Steven.

    God’s Blessings, and Love, as you can plan and serve Jesus together.

    1. Thank you George! Gosh, it’s great to hear from you. I have been praying for you! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through difficult health times again. Gosh, my heart goes out to you and I will continue to pray hard that things improve for both you and your nephew. I am incredibly touched that, given everything you’re going through, you wanted to send this note of joy for Steven and myself tonight. You truly are a great friend and a wonderful person. I will pass along your kindness to him when I see him on Wednesday. God bless you George. Sending so much love and hugs and prayers to you and your family! Xox

  6. NYC is the city with the greatest exodus right now, and the state of New York is second only to New Jersey as the number two most exodused state. New York also has lost seats in Congress.

    1. There really has been a mass exodus here! it’s been sad to see. thanks JB for stopping by. i hope you’re having a great night. Hugs and love xox

  7. Dear Caralyn, every time I read an article about NYPD cops leaving in record numbers, another random beating, etc. I think of you. I just hope you and Steven remain safe. You are in my prayers!!!

    1. Hey Jeff, I know it is just so sad and disheartening. This city NEEDS the police. *Every* city needs the police. And they deserve respect. They sacrifice so much and put their lives on the line every single day they go into work to protect us, and protect the people who are actively fighting against them. Lord, have mercy. Big time prayers for this country. Thanks for the prayers, Jeff. they are definitely appreciated! and you and your family are in mine as well! Hugs and love to you and your girls! xox

      1. My prayers always include all those who fight against evil, especially all those in any uniform. Just stay safe – I know you do, but the dad in me has to say it!!!😉

      2. amen! absolutely, thank you!! i’m really lucky to have a strong guy like Steven making sure I get home safely. My dad has even says that he sleeps better at night knowing Steven’s watching out for me 🙂 hahah I appreciate it!!! 🙂

  8. I will have to disagree with you on this. Crime is way up. Hate crimes against Asians way up. Tales from people who have to still go in for work say otherwise. I work in the city area , but live north. Houses are still being sold up here to city people within 1-2 days. Houses in the Catskills and Adirondacks are selling like hotcakes still to city people. I know people who have tried to buy and people are bidding 20% or more over the asking price. People are still trying to flee. Co-workers and clients telling me they were embarrassed to take relatives visiting around the city in April say otherwise. I think policies at the state level and local have contributed to its rapid decline. Will the last person to leave Manhattan please turn out the lights?

    1. thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. That’s great to hear that real estate up there is doing well. and you’re right – the hate crimes against Asians are just horrific. There are no words to express how absolutely unacceptable those atrocious acts of violence are. thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

    1. We in Chicago have a similar issue. A lot of carjackings going on and thefts like stealing catalytic converters.

      I wouldn’t carry a whole lot of cash if any. I’m just glad I live in the suburbs but I work near the city and it becoming warmer out having the windows rolled down to not having to deal with a hot interior getting off work is a little weary as it’s an older vehicle and don’t want to risk on burning out the AC as it’ll work overtime to get the interior cooled off.

      Being that a lot of the police force just quitting or retired doesnt sound good, though with that situation of negatively towards police I don’t blame them one bit for leaving. It’ll get worse before it gets any better just be aware of your surroundings and stick with your gut, if something is not right dont go out that night or what not maybe take Uber instead of walking. Or if your friends have cars I’d go with them and keep the doors locked.

      Stay safe out there!

      1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry Chicago is under the same duress. You’re so right – those are great great tips! Thank you!! Praying for you and your community! Hugs and love xox

  9. Grace and care for others is *great*, but the circumstances are awful… ‘hundreds and hundreds of people showing up for canned goods. They start lining up the night before to get in line.’

    Cutting $1B from the police budget – amid a crime wave – sounds like subversion. (And with the climate against officers)
    That is a lot of hurting police officers, and their families…

    As well as people catching some rays in the park (and which is important and great!), a question would be, what are the deeper emotions of the city, as related to the deeper circumstances…
    Are they known, corporately?
    And how can they be met?

    1. It really is so sad. Hurting people who officers. Hurting families. Hurting people who depended on the police to keep their neighborhoods safe. Thanks David for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Hugs and love xox

  10. It was just a wee coma. Ok, maybe not so wee…but I applaud you for being as strict as possible with your quarantine. For weeks – if not months – I’ve watched my friend there, perhaps you’ve heard of them, The Gays? Yeah, those numbskulls have been out queueing up for the gym and brunching it up since the temp got over 50 degrees. 🤦🏽
    Here’s a timeline of their privilege:
    60s: A demand for equality
    80s90a: AIDS
    Aughts and Tweens: Equality. Mostly…yay!
    2021: The rules are for other people!
    Chart it…it starts off as a straight, flat line. Then it takes off almost straight up toward privilege. It frustrates me. My culture has never been known for its obvious maturity, but this just looks like a bunch of guys reassuring themselves that it’s ok for *them*. 🤦🏽

    1. A wee coma, I like that analogy. Yeah I haven’t stepped foot in the gym since last March! Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  11. Wow aren’t you the brave ones. Here in boring North Tampa Bay area the big news is usually another alligator spotted crawling across a golf course or being fished from a swimming pool. But the best place and safest for us all is right in the center of God’s hand. May He keep you there always.

    1. Oh my an alligator spotting! Now that would scare me! Haha Thanks for stopping by Pete. I agree – God’s hand! Hugs and love xox

  12. I tell you, I have lived in the country (farm Town of 2,000) and in the city (Miami) and suburbs (Glendale, CA), am now in a county subdivision right outside a medium sized city (about 78,000 and rising weekly- a lot of your people are coming here to central Florida lol). And I never felt unsafe. I think part of that is trust in the Lord. Part of that is I never believe thr hype and always smile and expect the best in people and they generally rise to that. And part of it is that I carry. I do not trust my gun, I trust God, but my gun reminds people to be respectful. Never had a problem. My car even died in the worst part of Miami and the nicest guys actually fixed my car for me, amazing. But some places I have lived, you just know not to go certain places at night. During the day, everyone is at their best. This crazy virus thing has hurt so many people and businesses on so many levels- unnecessarily so. And I am convinced within myself that we Christians are the light of the world and have thr hope, security and truth people are desperate for. People long for security and we know that a strong relationship with God is the answer. And when people feel secure, they will come back and God can do great work. I think the key is us in the church, everyone encouraging us to focus on God, us affirming and reassuring, being that light. It is beautiful how God made it to be. Sorry to go on like that. Just feel strongly about it. Anyway, love you as always, my beautiful friend. Hugs!XO😃❤

    1. Hi Tonya, wow thank you for this beautiful response. Wow! You’ve lived all over! And amen to this – we trust God. He is our rock. He is our fortress. Our shelter in the storm. Our protector. Our hoops and our safety. I’m so happy for you that you have such a safe and positive environment to call home 🙂 yes! God will so great work. I fully trust that. This was so encouraging. Thank you friend. Love you! Hugs xox

  13. I am really sorry to see NYC business community and law enforcement suffering so from this pandemic and from the unrest in the community. For sure I would not want to be a police officer in today’s climate. I really can’t blame them for bailing out… but heaven help us, we need them! And we need to see people being serious and sane about how they treat our police… and one another. All I can do is to “be the change I wish to see” – and do that in my own little corner of the world. You’re doing that, too, Caralyn. God bless you! <3

    1. Thank you Jan for your kind words and concern. So true – we need to be the change! One person at a time!! Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  14. Hello BBB,
    NYC is a city that we admire from where I am that is in East Africa.I’ve always known it to be a busy city but now what you are experiencing,we are also experiencing here in Kenya.Businesses are low, people have lost jobs.Houses are vacant.
    I am praying that this pandemic will come to a halt.Only God can rescue us.Thanks for sharing.God bless you.

    1. THank you so much Stella for sharing your heart on this. Oh wow, East Africa! that’s amazing! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re also experience those negative effects of the pandemic in your home. Praying for you and your community! Hugs and love xox

  15. So happy to hear NYC is on the mend. I am sure much of the budget cuts were about money and levels of service (esp the MTA). Time to add back positions!!

  16. Ok, the mother in me comes out when I saw the picture of Steven on his bike, wearing a baseball cap instead of a helmet. Steven, please wear a helmet while riding a bike.

    1. Thank you so much Madeline! oh yes – he has a helmet now! haha I have made sure of that! 🙂 glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

      1. Dear Madeline and Caralyn, Yes, definitely the 21st century mother showing up! Growing up in the 60s and 70s we never heard of bicycle helmets except for the guys in Tour de France, and they were going up to 70 mph (110 kph) at top speeds. But then, we did not have cars zooming at 55 mph downtown, either! 😉

    1. oh you are absolutely right about that, James. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  17. Stay safe, Caralyn! I took my niece to NYC for a weekend to celebrate her 16th birthday just before the pandemic hit. I was shocked by the state of the city, and that was BEFORE the lockdown, the police crisis, and everything that has taken place. I’ve gone to NYC several times a years for most of my adult life, and I have never seen it so dirty and so covered in trash, and never before I felt that unsafe. I pray that things get better for your sake and the city’s.

    1. thank you so much Amy! oh what a special trip that must have been for her! so fun. but yes- NYC is definitely in need of an overhaul. it’s hardly recognizable anymore. the trash is another big thing I didn’t touch on in the post, but garbage just piles up on the curbs because the sanitation department also took a hit in the pandemic. We are hurting for sure! thank you for the prayers…joining in prayer with you! hope you enjoyed those cookies this weekend 🙂 heheh Hugs and love xox

      1. I put half of them in the cookie jar, knowing that they would not last more than a couple days with my husband at home. The rest, I hid in the freezer and am am enjoying them in secret. 😉

      2. hahha oh my gosh too funny! that’s what I would do too! 😉 hehe

    1. Thanks so much Bonnie for sharing your thoughts. That’s very true! Hugs and love xox

  18. I hope you’re right but if the police force keeps losing cops at the rate they currently are NYC will become uninhabitable except for the criminals who’ll prey at will on those who are trying to bring the city back to a state of normalcy. I admire your optimism yet I’m not convinced your town has turned the corner on this horrible mess. It’s going to take strong, bold leadership and y’all don’t have that right now.

    1. You’re right about that, Rollie. Very concerning indeed. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  19. Unfortunately, Caralyn, I do not expect our major cities ever to get back to pre-pandemic days. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but we are nearing the end of the “Use By” date on our republican-democracy, and world-wise, things are shaping up for the return of Jesus. Paul 2nd letter to Timothy said, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
    Still, we must “occupy until He comes,” and serve in humility and love those who do not realize their errors, loving even our enemies and those who oppose godliness. 1 Timothy 4:12-16, Revelation 2; 25-26.
    You and Steven (and your parents) are on my daily “prayer walk.” ❤️&🙏

    1. The use by date – that’s definitely a powerful analogy! Thanks for sharing that. Lots of interesting food for thought here! I so appreciate your prayers, my friend. Know that you are in mine too! Hugs and love xox

  20. Good article and I understand your concern and defense of New York City. NYC has been one of the world’s great cities for a long long time. It has been the hub of activity for the economies of the world for decades. But, if you step back and look on as an outsider, you have to see NYC about 2 liberal policies away from being comatose. Like an apple that has been eaten and the core sat on the counter, the Big Apple will never be what it once was, as America will never return to what it once was. If you will continue your passage in Ezekiel on to the 6th verse then you will see that God puts tendons flesh and skin on those bones and then breaths His spirit into them so they come back to life. This is a picture of Israel being resurrected and returning to God and worshiping Him. Until NYC falls on its collective face, repents of its transgressions, turns from its wickedness and turns back to God, it has no chance of ever recovering. Some say it may well be doomed for devastation. What you are seeing is the beginning of judgment. That is a precursor to wrath. NYC is nowhere near as important to God as Jerusalem is, and how many times in history has he allowed Jerusalem to be devastated and the people led to captivity? The problem is when it rains everyone gets wet. The remnant of Godly people in NYC will suffer along with the unjust. That is another reason for the mass exodus. God bless each and every one of the people of New York City and may they awaken and see their error, lest they become like The ladies of Ezekiel 23:4 and beyond.. “Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister;”

    1. Thank you so much Dennis for this powerful response. Lots of deep food for thought here. You’re right – we need to turn back to God! Hugs and love xox

  21. It’s almost the same experience in Lagos, Nigeria. We can only pray that God will heal our world and also play our part by spreading the love and light of God through good deeds.

    1. Oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear this is hitting so close for you and your home in Nigeria. Yes. Praying with you for your community! thanks Adeleke for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

    1. oh gosh, I hate to hear that, Jo. Praying for you and your community. thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  22. You are one brave lady to stick it out in NYC after this year of craziness…but kudos to you, because we love visiting the Big Apple and want to see it emerge from shutdown and chaos. Folks like you will make it great again, because you have a strong faith in God guiding you. May His Holy Spirit visit NYC in a powerful way in the days ahead! Praying right now for you!

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. It definitely helps to have my special gentleman just a quick bike ride away! i pray that be the case! thank you for your prayers! Hugs and love xox

  23. Sorry to hear about the increase crime in the city. I do hope they will refund the police soon. Great post. Have a blessed day and stay safe.

    1. Thank you Beverley for your kind words. Yes, I pray that be the case too. Hugs and love xox

      1. oh I certainly did! I hope you did too! Hugs and love xox

  24. This is a great post and update. It’s so wonderful that your city is becoming alive again; yay for getting out and enjoying life.

    Who thought defunding the police was a good idea? *Suz NOT raising her hands!* What a joke; we actually need MORE trained and qualified police. I don’t blame the officers for walking away from that career; who would want to put up with all the nonsense?
    Oh, I know who: my daughter IS a police officer who is in it for the better of mankind, even if it makes her mom crazy.
    *sigh* I pray for her on the daily.

    Be well.

    1. thank you so much Suz for your kind words. Yes, sadly I agree. It’s a really sad reality right now. and oh my gosh – what a rockstar your daughter is! i will be praying for her too! tell her thank you for protecting us! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  25. Friends of mine in the police force are forming their exit strategies. Which is heartbreaking… We need these good men in service to the public. But the sacrifice is not worth the risk to their own families and they’re making the difficult choice to leave their jobs to save their families. The daily stress is unimaginable. Praying for police in NYC and all our major cities. We need them. Desperately.

  26. Thanks for your “resident New Yorker’s” insights re: pandemic life there. Our daughter lives near Albany, we’re hoping for a reunion maybe summer, maybe fall after the border re-opens. Stay safe!

    1. thank you friend! yes! I hope you guys get to reunite soon! i was in Albany for the fourth of july last year and it was lovely! Hugs and love xox

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