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Is New York City ‘Over’?

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Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sept. 7 (Labor Day). Read about the amended regulations here.

During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, large swaths of New York City looked like ghost towns. Many businesses were closed, and plenty of New Yorkers — particularly the wealthy — fled to second homes.

The city has since slowly begun reopening, but things are far from normal. The changes — no Broadway, no nightlife, uncrowded subways — have led some people to proclaim that New York City is “over” as we know it.

For instance, in a much-talked-about LinkedIn post this month titled “N.Y.C. Is Dead Forever. Here’s Why,” James Altucher, an author and podcaster, argued that the city was at a low in terms of financial ruin, culture and real estate.

“This time it’s different,” he wrote. “You’re never supposed to say that but this time it’s true.”

The concern about a second wave of infections has made it unclear when countless employees will return to work. Office towers sit empty. Foot traffic has dwindled in Midtown Manhattan and other commercial centers.

And worries about a resurgence of the virus also have New Yorkers leaving faster than some movers can handle.

A report last month by the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, estimated that roughly one-third of the city’s small businesses may never reopen. To that point, my colleague Troy Closson wrote about shops that survived the Great Depression and both World Wars, but were unable to weather the pandemic.

Also, a recent study by the city said that about 1,200 restaurants had permanently closed since March. Indoor dining is still not allowed in the five boroughs, and restaurants that are trying to take advantage of outdoor dining are struggling.

Even the sounds of the city have changed.

Several New Yorkers have argued that cynics aren’t giving the city enough credit. Some have also suggested that the people who fled were wealthy and would have eventually left anyway.

On Monday in a Times op-ed, the comedian Jerry Seinfeld responded to the LinkedIn article: “Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City,” he wrote. “Feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again.”

There are glimmers of a rebound, too: According to Resy, a reservation app, restaurants are performing at around 23 percent of last year’s volume. My colleague Sharon Otterman wrote that while that number is still very low, in mid-July it was only 10 percent.

And while the city’s vacancy rate is climbing, big companies like Facebook and Amazon have recently acquired buildings in Midtown.

The Queens Village Republican Club was still planning to host an event with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former adviser, who was charged last week with fraud. [Queens Daily Eagle]

The Times’s Amanda Rosa writes:

A lemon as a side dish. Some lettuce in a plastic bag. A sandwich for a student with gluten allergies. Salads with chicken for vegetarians.

Welcome to college. Bon appétit.

As students arrive on campuses in New York for an academic year upended by the coronavirus pandemic, administrators are grappling with an array of challenges — including how to isolate students coming from the many states subject to New York’s 14-day quarantine rule.

Feeding those students, it turns out, is a big task. New York University and Cornell University, among others, have dealt with it by providing meals at no charge to out-of-state students who have been allowed to move into dormitories before classes start.

The prospect of free food may sound good, but what showed up in brown paper bags three times a day at N.Y.U. got poor reviews from students, who were quick to share TikTok videos and memes of their unripe oranges, watermelon chicken salads and other unhappy meals.

Danielle Gould, a sophomore, tried to make the best of the situation, posting a video of a breakfast she received as an “incoherent sounds” meme on TikTok. What did it show? A cookie, chips, salad dressing, salt and pepper.

Even if students are not well fed, Ms. Gould said, “at least people can be entertained.”

[Read more about the meals at N.Y.U.]

Annette Yang, a first-year N.Y.U. student studying media, culture and communications, said that she had not received some meals and that some of the food she did get smelled as if it had gone bad.

“PLEASE DON’T SKIP MY ROOM FOR FOOD!” Ms. Yang wrote on a sign she posted on her door. “I haven’t gotten food today or yesterday. Pls help.”

On Thursday, N.Y.U. issued a statement apologizing to the 2,600 students who are living in isolation, for what it said were “valid” complaints about a “particularly regrettable error.”

It’s Tuesday — keep on keeping on.

Dear Diary:

It was my first Halloween in my first Manhattan apartment.

Having grown up on Long Island, I assumed that trick-or-treating was strictly a suburban phenomenon, so I had not kept track of the date.

But shortly after I returned home from work on Oct. 31, my bell rang. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find a small boy wearing a costume and holding a shopping bag that appeared to be empty.

“Trick or treat?” he said hopefully.

“Wait a minute,” I said before running off to the kitchen.

No treats anywhere. But I didn’t want to send him away empty-handed.

In desperation, I grabbed a cantaloupe from the counter, rushed back to the door and dropped the melon into the boy’s bag.

As he walked away silently, he appeared to be staggering under the weight of the unusual treat.

— Karen R. Caccavo

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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