YOU NEVER MISS YOUR WATER UNTIL YOUR WELL RUNS DRY
Who remembers these famous New York tunes ?? The 1977 tune” NATIVE NEW YORKER,” -by Odyssey, The 2009 NY Yankee anthem “Empire State of Mind” Alicia Keys and J-Z, AND THE 1979 ALL TIME FAVORITE, FRANK SINATRA “New York, New York” –I happen to remember all of these ditties, maybe because I am originally from Queens, NY. I live in New Jersey now, and unlike my New Jersey friends, I feel special that I can navigate New York City’s subways, mid-town Manhattan, and to some degree buses and taxis. To show off and practice my NYC direction prowess, I promised myself to make an annual trip to New York City during the summertime. To me, the best time to go into New York City is summer. Leave those heavy coats and hats at home, grab your backpack and walk the streets of Manhattan like a woman of style and purpose. My friends would often laugh at me, since I have a very pronounced “New York Style TYPE of walk” which is– I walk fast with really no where to go.
Despite the growing socioeconomic problems within the City, I always love seeing well-fashioned women, the hustle and bustle of people shopping at Macy’s Herald Square, and the very large variety of restaurants and eateries all within a stone’s throw. The smell of hot greasy NYC pizza, hot peanuts and cashews with toffee, and the can’t take it no more -rats running on the subway tracks– paint a vivid picture for me of NYC. I normally wait until that hazy summer day hits, then I plan a day to go in to the City by myself, send time with myself, and I could just feel the stress of work lift right off my shoulders. At other times, I would either take family from out of town along, and meet my remaining Queens family at a restaurant for the occasional birthday celebration or other family get together. And the best thing about going into the City is that the cost is $10.00 parking at my local garage in NJ, along with an affordable train fare ride on NJ Transit!
So, for me it is quite troublesome to see that restaurant owners state that they may not be able to open its doors again. As a matter of fact, the renowned news program 60 minutes did a small expose on several restaurant owners who stated that they are struggling to make ends meet. Now, I have never been to Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem, but this woman stated that she started her restaurant by putting money away underneath her mattress! On top of being an investment savvy and altogether smart woman, Ms. Melba was also preparing small take out orders trying to keep workers on the payroll. She is just one of the many NYC restaurant owners that state that even if they did open, how would social distancing look for their business? Think about the Times Square area — where Bubba Gump Shrimp, Hard Rock Cafe, and other restaurant chains would be bustling with tourists. The characteristics of these chain restaurants are overcrowded with long lines of tourists, normally a 45 minute or more wait, and the crafty red buzzer to let you know your table was ready. But now, what is to become of these chain restaurants? I can remember going to a Red Lobster in midtown and seeing some shady characters (I will never forget a woman, who by the way she was dressed had to be a ‘lady of the evening’). The man she was with looked like he wanted to feed her and then make her do his bidding. Ok, I digress – but, it truly saddens me to see these type of institutions disappear like an old dinosaur.
But restaurants are not the only establishments that are being hit hard in NYC. Who would of EVER thought that Neiman Marcus would file for bankruptcy? Neiman was always a store that I could never ever afford, so it is a little astonishing how this luxury department store could file for bankruptcy. And there are plenty more retail establishments fighting to maintain its existence: JCPenney, Sears, and some Macy’s Stores. The entire executive team at Lord & Taylor was let go in April 2020. Nordstrom, another high end luxury store has canceled orders, and put off paying its vendors.
So what will replace these old NYC institutions? It looks like their future is dim due to the COV-ID19 pandemic. Perhaps a restructuring using wait-less tables and counters as seen at the United Terminal at Newark Airport will be the new normal for distance eating and shopping? Oh what fun –Ordering from an electronic menu, and using a conveyor belt to bring out food? Looks to me that a scene from the Jetsons just became reality.
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