"I have the impression that New York is emerging from a kind of hibernation," rejoices Madigan Mayberry, a young model who arrived from her native Virginia a few years ago.
This weekend, the terraces were full in Brooklyn, apart from the masks, you could believe that everything was back to normal… ”However, we are not there yet.
Long considered the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, New York has been hit hard by Covid-19 and it will take time to fully recover.
Nearly a million New Yorkers have been infected with the virus, more than 31,000 have died.
The city lost over a million jobs last year, twice as many as Los Angeles, three times as many as Chicago.
More than 5,000 restaurants have closed, 200 of the city's 700 hotels may not reopen.
At 13%, the unemployment level is double the national rate.
Tourism, one of the pillars of the economy, has been deeply shaken and it will be necessary to wait until 2025, according to experts, to return to the level before the pandemic.
"Business is picking up strongly"
But, as Mathias Van Leyden, the owner of Loulou, one of the most popular bistros in “downtown”, says, the light is at the end of the tunnel.
"We opened our bistro on February 19, 2020, three weeks before the start of the pandemic, remembers this Parisian who has been living in New York for more than twenty years ... But we never completely closed, we made deliveries , takeaways and with the help of a sympathetic owner, we managed to hold on.
And now that we have reopened indoors at 50% of our capacity, business is picking up strongly.
Like many establishments, Loulou has built a pretty terrace full of flowers and lanterns outside, encroaching on the street parking spaces.
Jane, a schoolteacher, waits patiently for a table on the terrace, with two girlfriends.
“Look at everyone, hope has returned!
"" I have 80 more covers, so we meet there, says Mathias Van Leyden.
And I'm looking to open another restaurant in Greenwich Village.
"The worst is in the past"
“The worst is a thing of the past,” confirms Steve Olsen, owner of the West Bank Café, near Times Square.
We have had a bad year and I would have gone out of business if loyal customers hadn't organized a financial rescue.
Now it seems to be off to a good start… ”New York, where nearly 30% of the population (half of those over 65) have received at least one dose of vaccine, will benefit from a windfall of tens of billions of dollars as part of the American rescue plan organized by President Biden, more than 25 billion dollars just for the restaurant and hotel sector ...
In the United States, more deaths from Covid than soldiers fallen during the two world wars
Long deserted - it had lost more than 90% of ridership - the metro is welcoming more and more travelers.
The Yankees games in the Bronx have reopened to the public but in limited capacity (one in five), as have the Nets, the Brooklyn basketball team.
Everyone is hoping that the US Open can go smoothly at the end of the summer.
Museums are also reopening, although you have to book in advance.
And of course, everywhere, wearing a mask is compulsory.
"But we got used to it, with a mask," notes Jane with a smile.
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Even Broadway is waking up… This weekend, for the first time since the pandemic forced the 41 theaters to close, a small play was performed in public at the Saint James Theater.
Admittedly, there were only 150 spectators, all tested, masked and scattered in a room that can accommodate 1,700, but as Jordan Roth, one of the directors, said, "It's a sign that Broadway is coming back to life"!