Storefronts slow to get back to business on first
day of NYC’s reopening
AND ROBERT POZARYCKI
For SOHO businesses making
“a brand new start of it
in old New York” following
three months of COVID-19 restrictions,
the fi rst day of reopening
ON JUNE 8 served more as
preparation for the future.
PHOTO BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
Boarded up businesses in SoHo on June 8, 2020, the first day
of the NYC reopening
PHOTO BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
Art on one of the plywood boards covering a storefront in SoHo.
Commuters flock back to mass transit
after worst of COVID-19 crisis: MTA
BY MARK HALLUM
Mass transit ridership
seems to be healing
after months of fear
It only took the fi rst day of
Phase I of reopening on Monday
for 213,000 more riders to come
back to the subways and buses
which has seem a 92% dip in
ridership. This increased the June
8 ridership to about 800,000, representing
a 17% increase from the
week prior on subways alone.
The seeming likelihood that
commuters are making a B-line
back to public transportation
could dispel fears that people may
avoid the trains and buses for a
Under Phase 1, retailers could
reopen their doors — but they
can’t welcome customers inside
their shops to browse. Customers
can pick their items up at the stores
in person after placing an advanced
order online or by phone.
But many stores across the city
didn’t reopen Monday. Instead,
for shops like Slowear Venezia
in SoHo, June 8 served as a
prolonged period of time. Interim
New York City Transit President
Sarah Feinberg said she was optimistic
from her outings on the
subway that riders were returning
with “confi dence.”
“There was a real spring in
people’s step, there was a bustle
about the system. It was obviously
a beautiful day, it was a good day
to be out. But I think I was in six
stations and seven trains and I feel
like people were optimistic and
glad to be back,” Feinberg said.
Ridership during peak hours
is up by 18% to 22%, Feinberg
said, and bus ridership is up 13%.
Manhattan subway ridership was
up 20% alone.
But while the MTA now has
preparation day for future days
“Especially after the SoHo looting,
on the very fi rst day, we’re
bringing the store back in shape,”
said Marcel York, who serves as
Slowear Venezia store manager.
“All the product was removed to
prevent further looting. We were
very lucky that nothing happened
The store didn’t bear as much
damage as other shops in the
community that suffered mightily
during looting that coincided
with the George Floyd protests
between May 30 and June 2.
Much of Monday, York said, a
skeleton crew worked to prepare
the necessary safety measures for
co-workers to return Tuesday.
That includes setting up multiple
hand sanitizer stations and securing
the proper amount of face
masks and gloves.
While York is hopeful customers
will return soon, the Phase 1
limitations on curbside pickup
may not be practical for most
businesses in the Manhattan
enclave. Not many people need a
car to get around the tiny neighborhood;
foot traffi c has always
been the strongest generator of
business for its retailers.
“SoHo is a luxury brand neighborhood.
If you can’t go shopping
hand sanitizer dispensers in stations
and other precautions, Feinberg
was cautious to say things
were back to normal entirely.
here, you won’t come down here,”
Slowear Venezia’s looking to
the Internet to entice customers
to continue shopping at the store
“We’re going to contact them,
take little videos of the store,
show items to them, and then
ship it,” he said.
Many other businesses weren’t
as ready to reopen Monday. The
glass windows and doors of many
of SoHo’s luxury brand stores remain
covered by wooden boards
after they were looted.
However, some of the plywood
coverings have been transformed
into canvasses for protesters to
paint the faces of George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor and Tamir Rice
PHOTO BY MARK HALLUM
Overnight closures between 1
and 5 a.m. will continue for the
time being with Feinberg taking
a page from Governor Andrew
— memorials to just a few victims
of police brutality.
Despite the pandemic, some
Manhattanites passed through the
neighborhood Monday to walk a
dog, stretch their legs or just take
a break from being in doors.
Ronnie Applewhite, a superintendent
of an apartment building
on Greene Street, describes the
atmosphere of the neighborhood
as not having changed much since
the pandemic began.
“Nobody is really attempting
to open up right now, “ said
Applewhite, who thinks stores
owners are cautious to reopen
given the pandemic and looting
that occurred after some George
Floyd protests last week. “Nobody
right now is taking chances.”
Cuomo in telling reporters that
the epidemic does not have a set
“We get better, more effective
and more effi cient at cleaning all
the time, so our plan is to return
to 24-hour service at some point.
We are defi nitely going to wait
until the end of the pandemic,”
Buses will continue to do reardoor
boarding with no fare, as
well as social distancing to protect
drivers, but she said the agency
would prioritize reinstating the
fare and front-door boarding.
“There’s no question, we have
to do that,” Feinberg said.
Last week, the MTA reversed
course on a measure taken in
March – the Essential Service
Plan – to reduce service by 30%
due to staff being out sick from
COVID-19. Full service on all but
5 line was fully restored.
Schneps Media June 11, 2020 3