The reopening of New York – something so many wanted for so long – has been met with an interesting response. People are shocked, surprised and a bit daunted by what is happening as so many people had gotten used to their “new normal.” Plus, the fact that restaurants, bars and offices are opening at 100% capacity have led to questions from many people wondering what crowds will feel like again after so much time being told to social distance.
It is not the entire New York that is reopening. Most theaters will be closed until at least September 2021. Office workers still tend to be working from home with a low number going back (approximately 16 percent, up from last summer’s 10 percent but still on the small side). One New Yorker, Michael Cortez (who like others believe the speed is “reckless”) said: “I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction to what’s going on in all the politics with Cuomo and everybody else. It’s crazy. And then we all ended up paying for it down the road. What’s the end game?”
He could be right. But Cuomo pointed to the “statewide rolling positivity rate…of 1.79 percent, the lowest since November 5 and a 50 percent drop over the last month,” which would make sense for a re-opening.
De Blasio said that by July 1st, New York City will “fully reopen,” having vaccinated “a large percentage of its 8 million residents.”
How much has de Blasio done to tackle New York’s age-old issue of being a “tale of two cities”? Some would say quite a bit; others would say it’s just the economy that has fueled the impact of change. But given that he ran on a platform of tackling this as it was the “defining issue of the day,” the question we must ask is, has he? And if so, how much?
Still, when it comes to wages (increasing) and unemployment (decreasing) during his time, people are quick to see him in a positive light. And the President. And the government. Or at least, the previous government which enjoyed “the longest economic expansion in the city [of New York’s] history.”
As Samar Khurshid recently noted, due to the economic climate though, de Blasio has worked toward putting policies in place that reduce inequality, in large part by developing the size and scope of city government. But bear in mind that de Blasio has not (yet) had to encounter any crazy economic crisis or even stressors which would impact his progressive policies on the slashing of large government expenditures.
De Blasio is however, currently exercising caution with a partial hiring freeze on city agencies while focusing on the stimulation of private sector job growth via city government levers.
Over the years what he has done is this: put “progressivism” as an economic strategy as a top priority. Right now he seems pretty undefeatable in a re-election.