After an almost two-year COVID break, Mike and I travelled to NYC this week. Business for him, pleasure for me. I did not know what to expect in the city, but it felt normal. While there were not as many people as there normally are, that was a nice change. While I recognize that the economy of the city needs more visitors to really return to normal, I know that will happen naturally. Now that more people are comfortable getting out and about, soon the positive impact of that will boost the economy. Of course, there are some people who are not yet comfortable getting out and about, for a variety of reasons. Each of us has to do what makes us most comfortable about the risks of COVID, the vaccine, and other variables related to all of this. Mike and I have chosen to go about living our lives as normally as possible.
What were the changes in the city? If one has been vaccinated, masks were not required in many places. Other than in restaurants, it was not necessary to prove vaccinated status. Restaurants had stricter rules, requiring one to show the vaccination card to enter. That was true in most restaurants, but not all. My understanding is that the requirement to be vaccinated before dining in a restaurant is a city-wide requirement, so some restaurants must be bending that rule. All restaurant staff were wearing masks, which is certainly not the case in some of our restaurants at home. There was more social distancing in New York than is common in other places I have been. It seemed that the people in New York were in general taking the COVID risks seriously, yet not allowing the risks to stop them from enjoying the city.
I did my usual walking the city for hours, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is nothing like the entertainment of walking through the city, enjoying the views of the storefronts, and stopping for a cappuccino along the way. I was so entertained by just the city that I did not even listen to podcasts, which I normally do while walking.
I did notice that the city streets were not as clean as they have been, and there were more homeless people. There are also more homeless people in our hometown city. Both probably as a result of an economy hit hard by COVID. I also saw a couple of people who seemed to have trouble coping, who were yelling obscenities and slinging trash from trash cans. I recall this same behavior many years ago in the city, before the streets were cleaned up, and other positive changes were made. I was saddened by this more than frightened.
Saks Fifth Avenue has been my favorite department store for many years, especially the flagship store in NYC. I have always enjoyed shopping there. Saks has done a major overhaul in its Fifth Avenue store. The store was always beautiful, and now it is even more so. However, one change that I did not understand is the public restroom facilities. On the lower level, there is a men’s room and two “all gender” bathrooms; no women’s room. I am not opposed to all gender restrooms, sometimes called gender neutral restrooms, but I do wonder why the men’s room is still available and the women’s room is not! The male salesperson to whom I posed this question had no answer for it.
Bloomingdales may be replacing Saks as my favorite department store in the city. This is because my favorite Sisley skincare salesperson who worked at Saks, then at Bergdorf Goodman, is now at Bloomingdales. I am now a Bloomingdale’s customer. I told her that I have followed her all around NYC! She is the absolute best customer service oriented salesperson I have ever known. I will follow her anywhere! I have written about her in a previous blog.
The city is open, welcoming, and recovering. It is once again alive.
New York Is Back. Are You?