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New York Lifts A Majority Of Covid-19 Restrictions As Vaccination Rates Continue To Rise 

New York officially has 70% of its population inoculated with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, meaning the state is now fulfilling its promise of lifting nearly all pandemic restrictions as a result of having such a large vaccinated population. 

All New York City restaurants, bars, and museums will no longer be required to have a limited capacity, enforce social distancing, conduct health screenings, or collect information for contact tracing purposes. 

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All private businesses, however, do hold the right to continue to enforce all of these policies. 

“Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70% vaccination ahead of schedule. We’re no longer just surviving – we’re thriving.”

Vermont, California, Florida, and Illinois are a few of the other states New York is joining in terms of lifting most of their pandemic restrictions. The US in total has administered about 309 million Covid-19 vaccinations, driving down a lot of the daily reports of new cases throughout the nation. 

In New York City specifically about 60% of all adults are fully vaccinated while 65% have received at least one dose of either of the two-dose vaccine options (Pfizer or Moderna). Statewide about 70% of the population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine ever since Pfizer announced individuals aged 12 and up can receive their vaccine. 

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In healthcare settings all pandemic restrictions obviously will remain in place. Public transportation systems and large indoor event venues that can hold up to 5,000 people or more will also be required to enforce restrictions.

 The venues will likely include places like Madison Square Garden or other large stadiums where social distancing would be easy. 

Large event venues, however, have already started allowing vaccinated individuals to attend certain events without a facial covering as long as they remain in designated areas for vaccinated individuals.

 Some venues have even split up their space for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to keep everyone separated. 

Vaccinated individuals have been able to use their proof of vaccine to attend sports games without social distancing or wearing a mask of any kind while unvaccinated fans are required to be in specified sections that allow for distanced seating; facial coverings are also still required as well. 

NYC Real Estate

New York Real Estate Surging As City-Life Returns To Normalcy 

After one year of the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the rollout of multiple vaccines, life in major cities is starting to return to normalcy, as are the many industries that keep these cities populated. Real estate in New York City is beginning to see a rise in demand as prices begin to decrease again. 

In Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens the number of leases that were signed in February of this year beat a record that was set back in 2012 during the comeback from the 2008 economic crisis. “The median rental price—lease value net of concessions—fell at least 11% across those boroughs last month,” according to a new report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

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Hundreds of thousands of New yorkers initially fled from the city to head to suburbia when the pandemic began. Within the past few months, however, there’s been an increase in transactions within the cities major boroughs. The coming months are projected to give the city the boost it needs to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. 

Some owners are keeping their properties off the market to wait for more individuals to be vaccinated/ the summer when it’s expected that more individuals will be flocking to the city.  According to UrbanDigs, a real estate insights firm, “in Manhattan landlords took more than 1,800 apartments off the market in February. For their part, renters are enjoying the reprieve from record prices, which peaked just before the pandemic.

According to Douglas Elliman, in Manhattan specifically non-luxury units will be offering the best deals in the coming months, and apartments of three or more bedrooms will likely be the most discounted due to the influx in demand. “The median rental price dropped 22.7% over the last 12 months on those units. Two-bedroom apartments are down 8.9%, while studios are down 19.3%. New signings are up dramatically from February 2020, but the overall vacancy rate remains high, at 5%, compared to 2.01% last year.  More than 40% of new leases come with some form of landlord concessions, the authors said, often one or more months of free rent during the first year after signing.”

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In Brooklyn, the borough saw the ““highest number of new lease signings since tracking began during the financial crisis, at 1,834 for February, a 133% year-over-year increase. Still, the median effective rent dropped 16.3%, more than any other year in almost a decade. Nearly 40% of new signings last month included landlord concessions,” according to reports from Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants.  

Miller Samuel also revealed that studio apartments in Brooklyn are seeing the best discounts in the borough. Average rental prices for studio’s fell nearly 19% when compared to this time last year. Apartments with three or more bedrooms saw the next biggest discount with a 13% decline. There are currently 3,438 listings in Brooklyn, which is also up 1,375 when compared to the amount of listings the borough had this time last year. 

Queens also set a new record for pricing, with inventory up 64% and signings up 36% when compared to last year.

Male Dancer

Remembering Modern Dance Legend Sir Robert Cohan

Sir Robert Cohan was a pioneer of contemporary dance in Britain. The legendary performer is now being remembered online with a multitude of tributes after it was announced that he recently passed away at the age of 95.

Cohan was originally a New Yorker who got his start as a dancer performing with Martha Graham’s dance company. Cohan often would work directly with Graham herself until 1967 when he decided to move to London where he would become the first artistic director of The Place, a new dance venue, as well as the London Contemporary Dance School and the London Contemporary Dance Theater.

Robin Howard was the founder of all those organizations, and once Cohan partnered with him the two were thought to completely change the face of dance in the UK. Audiences would bear witness to original explorations of contemporary movements that seemed to extend beyond the general understanding of classical ballet. 

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Famous choreographers Richard Alston and Siobhan Davies both were products of these organizations, and Cohan’s commitment to touring around the UK is what helped him gain so much popularity and momentum in the dance sphere. Alston recently became the artistic director of The Place himself, and spoke with the media about the legacy that Cohan left for him, and modern dance in general. 

“Cohan spoke at the London Contemporary Dance School graduation last year, and his comforting words to the class of 2020 showed that his ability to inspire and lead will remain infamous.” 

Alston then went on to discuss how specifically Cohan revolutionized his dance productions and the world of dance in general: “He designed a new ‘rig’ of lights which radically changed the way dance looked on the stage. Cohan’s inventions in lighting went hand-in-glove with high standards of production, often with striking three-dimensional sets designed and constructed by Cohan’s long-standing collaborator Norberto Chiesa.”

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Cohan would go on to choreograph productions for the Scottish Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company, and many other notable European dance companies. He continued to make work into the 90’s and in 2019 he was knighted for his services to choreography and dance. 

Composer Daniel Lee Chappell took to Twitter to post a touching tribute for Cohan, remembering him as a “genuinely supportive and generous person who nurtured the talents of so many people throughout his long career. He possessed an incredible vigour, insight and enthusiasm, still choreographing new pieces and sharing his tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience, as though he was still discovering the joy of dance for the first time.” 

Rosie Kay Dance Company also released an official statement in which they praised Cohan’s “huge contribution to the development of dance and to the teaching of contemporary dance technique in the UK”. Phoenix Dance Theater said its former patron was “an inspiring figure whose loss will be felt throughout the dance world.” 

For those who really knew of Cohan, they’re mainly remembering his iconic 2019 interview in which he claimed that one day in his early 20s he was walking around New York with a friend when they decided to sign up for a Martha Graham class, and it was in that class that Cohan “had the epiphany that this was what I would be doing for the rest of my life,” and that he did.

NYC Real Estate

New York City Luxury Real Estate Expected To Thrive In 2021

Based on New York City real estate’s last quarter of 2020, the luxury sector of the market is expecting to thrive in 2021. Sales of homes that cost more than $4 million increased slightly when compared to how they were selling this time in 2019; a surprising shift in the market considering we’re currently in the worst phase of the Covid-19 pandemic yet. 

Donna Olshan is the president of luxury real estate broker Olshan Realty who claims this increase is partially due to “a demand that was never met because we lost the most important real estate quarter to the pandemic – the spring. The upward tick also occurred because most of these sales are [to] New Yorkers, or from the New York metro area, betting on the home team. They are getting Covid-19 discounts, they’re looking at the long-term prospects of New York, and they’re buying.”

Jonathan Miller is the president and chief executive officer of Miller Samuel appraisers who thinks that NYC will see a major uptick in sales in 2021 because while many made the move to the suburbs during the pandemic, that craze will soon be over as the world begins to reopen. 

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“The way I think of the suburbs is that they had their moment. The ‘fleeing the city’ narrative is already extremely dated. While suburban sales are still up year over year, it’s just no longer a rocket ship of growth.” Miller also believes that this over-saturation of individuals in these suburbs are going to drive those markets way up, along with the prices of property. “And the jump in pricing, largely caused by what I would call panic buying—where people left the city out of fear—that was front end-loaded, and I don’t see a compelling reason why that [price growth] can be sustainable.”

Olshan believes that Brooklyn in general will stay as hot on the market as it has been; the pandemic hasn’t really impacted the real estate in the borough. “Luxury” real estate in Brooklyn is also much “cheaper” when compared to what’s considered luxury on the Upper East Side. Any home over $2 million in Brooklyn is considered luxury, which according to Miller is the main reason the area is so popular. 

“Brooklyn is certainly accelerating, and I don’t see any reason for that to stop I mean a million dollars buys you more space, and once you get into that luxury sector, that value grows quite a bit.”

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Foreign buyers investing in luxury New York City properties throughout the pandemic have certainly helped keep the industry, and economy, afloat, however, this has also caused the pricing to increase exponentially, and considering we’re in the middle of one of the worst economic disasters in US history, less American investors are likely to purchase these properties. 

In Manhattan this will especially be an issue considering how large the luxury condominium market is now in the borough, which Miller describes as being “burdened with a tremendous amount of supply.” 

“In 2020 we had 8.7 years of sellout, meaning it would take 8.7 years to sell all unsold Manhattan new-development condos. That is likely to drop to 7.2 years in 2021, because there’s an anticipated decline of new products coming into the market. Plus, additional sales will occur as buyers are drawn by discounted pricing. I think in 2021 we’ll see a continued drop in price trends.”

The next few months will be determined by how well the economy is able to recover with the new Covdi-19 economic relief packages, as well as how the country begins to recover with the rollout of two vaccines. 

Macys Store

Macy’s Will Hold Their Annual Thanksgiving Parade For TV Exclusively

The holiday season will look a lot different this year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, just because we’re all stuck at home that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate and feel that holiday spirit in a safe and quarantined manner.

NYC’s West Village Now Has A 100,000-Square-Foot Amenity Space Of Luxury

New York Architect David Rockwell recently completed this project that’s located under the five-acre luxury development known as Waterline Square. The space itself is described as a 100,000-square-foot amenity level in New York’s Upper West Side that has attractions such as indoor gardening, a boxing gym, and a half-pipe skate park. 

NYC Museum

New York City To Reopen Museums By End Of August

As New York City begins to move into phase 4 of their reopening procedures, many public institutions are gearing up to welcome residents back to their establishments. The city’s many museums specifically are excited to implement new health and safety measures so they can open their doors once again to New Yorkers.

New York City is just one of many metropolitans that managed to keep their cultural institutions alive virtually throughout this pandemic. Now, they’re ready to invite community members back to see all the art and history that they’ve surely missed, with some new restrictions. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that all museums and other low-risk indoor cultural venues, such as bowling alleys and gyms, will be able to reopen on Monday, August 24th. 

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Restrictions will apply to all of these locations to keep the rate of new Covid-19 infections as low as they are now. Cuomo recently held a press conference regarding entering phase 4 of New York’s lockdown procedures and what that will entail for museums and other institutions in the city. 

Museums, aquariums, and other similar venues will be allowed to operate at 25 percent occupancy capacity, and will need to adopt recommended sanitation guidelines and ask patrons to wear masks and continue to social distance.”

With August 24th being the tentative date of these reopenings it’s important to note that not every single cultural institution in the city will be reopening that day. According to its website, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will officially be reopening on August 27th for premium members and August 29th for all other visitors. The MET will be requiring facial coverings at all times, maintaining a distance of six feet, temperature screenings, and multiple hand washing/sanitation stations.

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The American Museum of Natural History is planning on delaying their reopening to members to be on September 2nd and to all other visitors on September 9th. Many museums are opting to let their premium members have initial access to the museum to keep group numbers even lower and to observe how well everyone is able to abide by the restrictions put in place. All ticket sales for the museum will give patrons a timed entry in order to limit capacity. 

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) plans to open its doors to all visitors on August 27th at limited capacity. Timed tickets will also be put in place for visitors, and individuals can start buying those tickets for the MoMA on August 21st. Everyone will be getting their temperature checked prior to entry, and any individual with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be turned away at the door. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has no official reopening date according to their website and all future online ticketing has remained suspended. There are also no official reopening dates for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. 

Before you gear up to head back to your favorite cultural institution in NYC, do your research, check the establishment’s website to understand what a visit will actually look like, and deem it safe enough for yourself before going. Keep abiding by all the health and safety procedures put into place and listen to your healthcare professionals. 

MTV

MTV To Hold Socially Distanced VMAs At Barclays Center

The coronavirus pandemic has truly shut down the entertainment industry indefinitely. Television and movie studios have halted production on all projects, Broadway/major theater productions have been closed, and all major award shows cancelled; at least until now. This week BET managed to show the world that not only were award shows still possible in a virtual context, but could also be extremely successful. Now, other major shows are inspired to provide some entertainment to the nation while it endures such a difficult time. 

MTV’s annual Video Music Award show typically takes place the last week of August every year. A few weeks ago it was predicted that the VMAs would likely be either cancelled or digital, but recently, the city of New York announced that the show would be doing neither.

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Instead, the VMAs will be returning to New York City’s Barclays Center this August, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. In a news conference this week Cuomo claimed that the show would bring together music fans worldwide like it always does, and pay homage to the strength, spirit, and resilience of NYC and its residents. 

The show will also provide performances from artists in remote locations throughout all five boroughs of the city. Bruce Gillmer, the president of music, music talent, programming and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, which produces the show, recently made a statement reacting to the news. 

“We’re elated to bring the 2020 ‘VMAs back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA.”

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Like most industries that have begun to reopen throughout the country, the VMA’s is going to have to endure some major adjustments in order to properly navigate hosting a whole award show during a global pandemic. MTV made a recent statement in which they claimed that the health and safety of all “artists, fans, industry, staff, and partners is of the utmost importance.” 

“Among the measures all parties involved have aligned to include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience.”

MTV also claimed that the show’s producers and Barclays Center management has been closely working with state and local officials during the past few weeks and will continue to do so until the actual date of the show to ensure that all proper precautions are taken/followed. 

The VMAs will be the first event that the Barclays Center is hosting since the Covid-19 pandemic initially hit New York City. The center is ecstatic to be back in the game and has stated that they’re  “proud of the impact it will have on our Brooklyn community through the creation of local jobs,” referring to the hiring of additional employees to assist with the event, as well as local surrounding small businesses seeing an increase in foot traffic. 

MTV, Barclays, the state of New York, and all local/state officials will be working tirelessly for the next two months in anticipation of the show and ensuring it runs as smoothly and safely as possible.

NYC Broadway

Hugh Jackman And Sutton Foster To Star Broadway Revival Of ‘The Music Man’

New York City unfortunately had to close down Broadway and the rest of its cultural institutions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, however, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still planning for the future of theater and entertainment in the city that never sleeps. 

Most recently, Broadway made the announcement that come May 2021, audiences would be able to relive the classic Broadway musicals in history, Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. Beyond just that, they also announced that the show would be starring none other than Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award-winner Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill. Jackman will be joined on stage by two-time Tony award-winning actress Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo in the musical that initially premiered in 1957. 

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Broadway producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, and David Geffen made the announcement this past Tuesday regarding the revival. The goal is to have show previews begin on April 7th, 2021, and open on May 20th, 2021 at the Winter Garden Theater. Rehearsals are also meant to begin on February 8th if all goes to plan. 

“Performing on Broadway is a great honor for an actor; in fact, one of the greatest. No two shows are exactly alike, in large part due to the audience,” Jackman said.

Jackman continued to reflect on his past experiences on Broadway and how excited he was to return to the stage. He’s mainly looking forward to opening night, describing the sensation of being filled with “anticipation, fear and excitement. The energy in the theater is palpable.” Jackman claims that the change in dates and planning for the musicals revival due to Covid-19 may be disappointing, but in the long run it shouldn’t change much in regard to the production and work that needs to be done before the show makes its debut. 

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The show will be directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle. Other notable individuals that will be starring in the production include Tony-award winning actors Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn, Jefferson Mays as Mayor Shinn, Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo, and Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn.

“We’re obviously profoundly disappointed to be unable to start rehearsals for The Music Man as scheduled. But safety is safety, and it has to take precedence over every other consideration — for both our audience and for our company,” Rudin said.

Rudin continued to say that despite the show being postponed the entire team and company working behind-the-scenes will be sticking together through it all and will continue to make adjustments as our world attempts to recover from this deadly pandemic. 

As previously mentioned, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down all Broadway Theaters back in the beginning of March when the virus initially infiltrated New York City. Initially, when the city shut down the plan was to remain closed for one month; which has now obviously been extended to Labor Day, prompting many Broadway producers to offer refunds for any shows that were meant to take place before September 6th.Tickets for The Music Man are currently available on Telecharge.com for the April 7th date, and fans will also be able to sign up to be alerted when more tickets go on sale through Broadway.com.

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Statue To Be Removed From The Museum Of Natural History Steps In NYC

The statue of President Theodore Roosevelt that’s currently erected in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will be removed, according to a statement from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

The request to remove the statue actually came from the Museum of Natural History themselves, as the statue features America’s 26th president on a horse while a Native American and Black man stand on each side of the horse itself. The removal is also a general response to the multitude of confederate statues that are either being removed by protesters or requested to be removed by local officials in light of the current social justice issues America is enduring.

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“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior. The city supports the museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue,” de Blasio’s office said.

Executives working for the Museum of Natural History also released a statement on their website, claiming that while the statue was originally placed in front of the museum as a means of celebrating Roosevelt as “devoted naturalist” and American historian, the message behind the statue also “communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”

No specific date of removal has been set yet, but the museum is currently working with NYC officials on the proper protocol for removing and storing a historical statue that’s been a part of the museum’s property for so many years. The statue itself is titled the “Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt” and was initially commissioned to be made for the museum in 1925. It made its debut in 1940 as a part of New York’s larger memorial to Roosevelt, according to the museum.

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“To understand the statue, we must recognize our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination — as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race. We must also acknowledge the museum’s own imperfect history. Such an effort does not excuse the past but it can create a foundation for honest, respectful, open dialogue,” the museum continued in their statement.

As previously stated the museum’s decision was also inspired by the many historically confederate and racist statues currently being removed from parks and other state establishments in America. Just last week New Jersey’s Monmouth University voted to remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the campus’s Great Hall.

The University’s decision, like the museums, is a result of Wilson’s controversial reign as a politician. Wilson famously viewed racial segregation as a “benefit” to the country and its power structure. He also defended the enslavement of Black people by claiming that slaves in general were “happy and well-cared for.”

The protests and demand for true systemic change has been a fight since the dawn of the civil rights movement. Protesters want US officials to think about what we choose to memorialize and turn into monuments. When we honor things like the Vietnam War or 9/11, we often honor the victims of those tragic events in American history, so why aren’t there more monuments for the millions of slaves that were forced into this country? The Museum of Natural History agreed with this sentiment,and is hoping other historical institutions follow suit.