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The Last Week of 2020 ... Hooray

A Very Turbulent Year Comes to a Close, Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix

CoVid Impact on Real Estate, Restaurants, Hospitality & Travel

holiday events holiday markets manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island holiday events holiday markets nycDecember 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. The temperature highs will be Monday, Thursday and Friday, and just below 40 on Tuesday and Wednesday. The temperature lows will be will be in the low 30's on Monday and Tuesday, in the high 20's on Wednesday and in the high 30's on Thursday and Friday. A quarter inch of rain is expected Thursday, New Years Eve and a full inch of rain on Friday, New Years Day. Winds will be 5 - 10 mph all days except Tuesday, when the winds will pick up to between 10 - 15 mph. Humidity will range from 45% - 65% in the earlier part of the week, rising to between 70% - 80% for New Years Eve and New Years Day.

The photo at right shows the Kwanzaa candles at City Hall which Mayor de Blasio erected in recognition of this fairly recent [1960's] African American holiday. The holiday runs from Saturday, December 26th to New Years Day 2021.


Last Week of December 2020 Events - Mulchfest & Photo Exhibit Ending

The MMiXX d-up photo exhibit at Lety Bakery & Cafe at 77-07 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights ends Thursday evening.

NYC Parks returns with its Mulchfest program to recycle trees between now and January 9th. See the Parks Department website for times / dates / locations -

There are about 400 million Christmas trees in the U.S., of which about 10% are harvested annually.

The Last Week of 2020 ... Hooray

A Very Turbulent Year Comes to a Close, Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix

CoVid Impact on Real Estate, Restaurants, Hospitality & Travel

December 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

NYC / NYS CoVid Pandemic News

The extra mortality rate for 2020 is expected to be about 310,000 as of a week ago. There are 3.2 million American deaths forecast for 2020, which is a record and the uptick is due to the pandemic. CoVid will be the #3 killer in America [333k], following heart disease [655k] and cancer [599k].

An estimated 65% of the spread of CoVid following the Thanksgiving holiday, came from small private gatherings. It makes one wonder what's going to happen post the holidays / New Year.

The NYC CoVid positivity rate has risen from 2 - 4% in Novmber to about 7% to date in December. Grades K - 5 reopened following Thanksgiving, while grades 6 - 12 will reopen following the holidays. NYC Public Schools have been shown to have a below average CoVid positivity rate.

The number of Americans responding affirmatively to willingness to take the vaccine has risen from the low 50% range to about 60% since Biden became president-elect. People with significant allergies should proceed with caution before taking either vaccine, because a few people have had significant negative reactions. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses.


NYC & NYS Economic & Employment News

holiday events holiday markets manhattan queens bronx brooklyn staten island holiday events holiday markets nycBetween 1000 - 1100 bricks n' mortar retailers closed their doors this year in NYC. Chain stores took a big hit [down 13% - 14%], and about half of the losses came out of Manhattan. Examples of chain stores that closed in NYC include approximately 50 Starbucks locations and about 70 Duane Reade drug stores. I've seen the number of stores reported closing vary, which is why I have noted approximately. Manhattan took the double whammy of the loss of tourism and the loss of white collar workers, two thirds of whom continue to telecommute to their jobs.

Nationwide, an estimated 100,000 small businesses have already closed their doors this year due to the pandemic. The business models of many of the small bricks n' mortar retailers was under siege prior to the CoVid breakout.

The photo at right shows the New Years platform being erected in Times Square on Monday night. While the celebration will carry on, in person participation will be limited to a few rsvps. But you can watch it online or on TV.

Nail salons, which opened in the summer [I think July] saw a quick return of business before falling off again. It's said that overall nail salons have lost about half their business, which is also likely due to the fall off in tourism and the continued white collar telecommuting.

Holiday sales were up an estimated 3%. This compares with a Black Friday sales increase of 22%. Curbside pickup was up 52%.

In NYC one estimate shows a third of the 240,000 small businesses in NYC closing before the pandemic ends.

Unemployment continues at a high rate in the U.S. at 6.7% [November statistics, but doesn't include the fact that the labor force participation rate dropped nearly 2% which is millions more who don't have / lost their jobs], about 8% in NYS and about 12% in NYC. It's worth noting that NYS has a GDP of over $1.5 trillion in a normal year, which is about 8% of the national total [2017].

New York City's higher unemployment rate is due in part to its dependence on tourism, as NYC attracts over 60 million tourists annually. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, NYC tourism has all but died. An NYC & Company [NYC's tourism promotion agency] report says that NYC tourism accounts for $46 billion in annual revenue and about 400k jobs. The other source of NYC's unemployment problem is that only a third of white collar workers have returned to the office, which means significantly less retail and restaurant business in the city - and it's worth noting that some of this may be a permanent shift / change.


NYC Commercial Real Estate & Eviction Moratorium Extension

In November about 13.5% of Manhattan office space was available. Commercial leasing / sales were down 80% versus a year ago and it's the highest availability rate since 2003, which was the fallout following the 911 attack.

Governor Cuomo extended the eviction moratorium until March 7, 2021. That's good news for renters, but landlords / building owners weren't happy, making allegations that some tenants are or may be gaming the system.

NYC is looking at a $3.8 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year. Mayor de Blasio averted the crisis last fall via an unexpected increase in tax revenue.


Airline Travel & Mass Transit

Holiday travel was down significantly below prior year, but rose to levels not seens since before the pandemic began. Nationally about 9 million traveled by air during the Thanksgiving holiday, which was down about 60% from the 26 million in 2019, and over 10 million are expected to travel by air during the Christmas / New Year holiday. An estimated 34 million Americans curtailed their travel plans this holiday, while another 85 million did some traveling. Over the Thanksgiving holiday it was estimated that some 50 million did some traveling, down 10% versus prior year.

Generally airlines are seeing a gradual return of business, as they were down 90% shortly after the pandemic began, were down about 70% over the summer, and now are down about 60%. So things are improving.

MTA ridership is down about 30%, fluctuating from about -62% to -81% on any given day, per the data last week.


On November 30, 2020 the incoming Biden Administration had its first Intel meeting. Donald J. Trump wasn't present. Perhaps that's why they called it an Intel briefing. The Trump Administration continues to obstruct the incoming Biden Administration - this is beyond poor sportsmanship. And the baby man president's behavior, as always, is so bad it's almost indescribable. Only 23 more days left of the Trump Administration ... but who's counting?

Speaking of babies, the top names for babies in 2020 were Emma and Olivia for girls and Liam and Noah for boys.

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