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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. 

Alcohol Drinks

New York’s Newest Hidden Subway Speakeasy Has A 900-Person Reservation List

La Noxe is New York’s newest speakeasy, and has already gained a slew of attention from citizens looking for the most unique experiences that the city has to offer. Jey Perie is the founder of the establishment, and he’s known for his former ownership of the Williamsburg dance club Kinfolk.

“[In] early 2019, I was looking for any interesting locations that would allow me to develop my own take on a nightlife establishment. I lived in Tokyo for six years and was impacted by the restaurants, bars, and clubs I frequented while I was there. As soon as I came across the space underground at 28th Street, I instantly knew that was the spot,” he explained.

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The venue is located at 315 Seventh Avenue, and is described as a mixture of 70s Mexican architecture inspired by Luis Barragán, as well as Perie’s experiences living in Tokyo and Barcelona. Perie said he wanted to create an “oasis of cultures and influences” within the space, and after working with the city’s MTA and Department of Buildings, his dreams were able to become a reality in March 2020; unfortunately the coronavirus had other plans.

The bar was initially projected to open fully on June 9th, but instead has now secretly opened to serve coffee, sandwiches, and fresh cold-pressed juices. The establishment also offers cocktails and to-go wine with any food purchase. After the delays and multiple pandemic-related hurdles, the speakeasy fully opened by reservation only in October.

After 12 weeks of being open, the speakeasy had to pause before reopening in mid-February. Currently, La Noxe is serving food and drinks on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and yes, it’s still by reservation only. The venue itself can only hold 15 people at a time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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“Every day, we are hosting amazing new guests, many of whom I hope will become regulars. Our goal is to build a strong community of people who love great food, cocktails, wine, and music. The goal is to eventually open until 4 a.m. to truly embrace the nightlife scene. We are definitely not trying to be a tourist attraction. We believe the right people will always find their way to La Noxe,” Perie explained.

The restaurant side of the business serves a variety of seafood options such as “daily catch ceviche, bass tiradito, and shrimp vuelve a la vida with tostones. The house drinks include Forbidden Love (aloe, cucumber, lemon, and vodka) and the La Noux Banana Daiquiri (banana liqueur, Jamaican bitters, and charanda).”

Perie explained to the press that “the focus of La Noxe is its drinks, but it’s the atmosphere that truly stands out. The size and location of the room will make you feel like you are partying for a few hours in the apartment of an eccentric artist circa 1977. But first and foremost, La Noxe is a New York experience.”

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.

Pop Culture Artist Kaws Celebrates New Exhibition In Brooklyn

Brian Donnelly is the man behind Kaws, who is now considered one of the biggest pop culture phenomenon’s in the modern world.

Remembering Salsa Icon Johnny Pacheco, Who Passed Away At 85 This Week

Johnny Pacheco was the co-founder of Fania Records, a trailblazing salsa music label that was one of the first of its kind. Unfortunately, this week Pacheco passed away at the age of 85 due to complications caused by pneumonia. Representatives from Fania announced his passing this week with a heartfelt tribute posted online: 

“Pacheco was the man most responsible for the genre of salsa music. He was a visionary and his music will live on eternally.” 

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Pacheco himself was a flutist who once found himself frustrated by the low income he was making from his talents/recording. So in 1964, him and Jerry Masucci founded Fania as a means of promoting the music of Latin Americans in New York. The label became quickly known as the Motown of salsa, with icons like Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe and Bobby Valentín recording there. 

In 1968 Pacheco founded Fania All-Stars, a supergroup of some of the finest salsa musicians who would record multiple tracks and even go on to perform live. The group starred in the 1972 documentary “Out Latin Thing” and went on to perform in front of 45,000 people at Yankee Stadium one year later; in 2003 a live recording of that concert was entered into the National Recording Registry. 

Pacheco’s full name is Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping, he was born on March 25th 1935 in the Dominical Republic. When he was 11-years-old his family moved to New York City where he would go on to study percussion at Juilluard. In the 1950’s he spent his time forming and joining bands and discovering his sound; he played percussion in Tito Puente’s orchestras and played with pianist Charlie Palmieri for two years as well. 

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Initially Pacheco was signed to Alegre Records with his group Pacheco y Su Charanga, where he would go on to sell more than 100,000 copies of their debut album. That album spawned a nationwide dance craze that led to Pacheco’s real rise in fame internationally. During his career he recorded and composed more than 150 songs. 

Eventually Al Santiago, the owner of Alegre Records, revealed that he was suffering from a slew of financial problems that would make it difficult for him to keep the label going, so Pacheco would go on to start his own lavel with Masucci; who at the time was working as a lawyer. 

The two started by selling records out of the back of their cars and marketed themselves as salsa mucisianss. Pacheco worked extra hard to get the salsa sound more mainstreamed, and always had a goal of evolution when it came to music. 

Pacheco formed a long-lasting relationship with performer Celia Cruz, in fact, their 1974 album, Celia & Johnny went on to earn gold and Cruz with the title of “Queen of Salsa.” 

Fania eventually collapsed due to a lack of financial stability and Masucci’s unfortunate death in 1997, but Pacheco went on to work on film music. In 2005 he received a lifetime achievement award at the Latin Grammys, solidifying his legacy as one of the biggest pioneers for Latin American performers.

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.

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 Broadway

Study Finds Only 20% Of New York Theater Productions Are Written By People Of Color

In an annual study released by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition, it has been found that there are major gaps in racial representation and wage amounts when it comes to white writers versus people of color writers on the New York stage. In the same regard, some theater non-profits were listed as spending up to six times the amount of money on white actors when compared to actors of color. 

“The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on NYC Stages” analyzed the 18 largest non-profit theaters, as well as Broadway production companies in New York, that occurred during the 2017-2018 season. The report did find that the year gave Broadway it’s first play written by an Asian American, Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, however, it also warned against celebrating small victories like this, as they can “often serve as the poster child of diversity for a particular season, encouraging a false sense of progress.”

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The fact that it’s taken Broadway this long in general to hire an Asian American playwright has been staggering for many critics in the report, and many realize that the 2017-2018 season is only further reflecting the systemic inequalities of racial representation on and off the stage in New York. 

In the 2016-2017 report, it was found that 86.6% of all Broadway and off-Broadway shows were written by white people and 97% of all directors were white. This year, the numbers dipped slightly with 80% of writers and 86% of all directors being white, but essentially, these numbers have always been around the same. 

The report showed that when it came to on stage performers, 60% of all roles on New York City stage went to white actors; to give it some perspective only about 32% of all New York City residents are white, so the on stage roles aren’t reflecting the off stage reality. 23% of all roles went to black actors while only 6.9% went to Asian American actors. 6.1% went to Latino actors, 2% went to Middle Eastern or North African actors, and only .02% went to Indigenous actors. 

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The study was released months after more than 300 stage artists of color signed a letter addressed to “white American theater” as an institution, and called them out for the complete lack of representation on and off the stage, a well as the lack of opportunities made available for people of color on the NYC stage. 

“We have watched you un-challenge your white privilege, inviting us to traffic in the very racism and patriarchy that festers in our bodies, while we protest against it on your stages. We have watched you promote anti-blackness again and again.”

The report also found that when it came to actor wages, non-profit theaters in NYC spent $1.70 for every $1 spent on an actor of color. The wage gaps vary by company but to give an example the Roundabout Theater spent $6.09 on white actors for ever $1 spent on actors of color; the Atlantic Theater was $1.46 for every $1, and the report claimed that a similar gap was “highly likely” to exist on the Broadway stage, however, Broadway productions don’t publish their salaries. 

The end of the study worked to give a similar impact as the 300-page letter, and called upon NYC theater companies to start reflecting the diversity of the streets on the actual stage. When theater reopens in 2021 (tentatively) it will be a unique moment of opportunity for New York to expand their horizons and catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to equality.

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 Real Estate

Manhattan Real Estate Stronger Than During The Great Recession

According to a recent analysis by real estate market data firm UrbanDigs, the Manhattan real estate market is currently in much better shape than it was during the Great Recession. Like most industrys adjusting to pandemic life, however, the future is still very unclear and fearsome. 

The report claimed that there were much more sellers than buyers during the Great Recession but now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, that gap is much smaller. Noah Rosenblatt and John Walkup are the cofounders of UrbanDigs, and recently claimed that they believe this gap has lessened because the Great Recession was a strictly economic crisis in America while the coronavirus has halted every single aspect of life for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. 

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“The lack of sharp spikes in supply and a corresponding drop in demand suggests the market is not as one-sided as the Great Recession, although lingering virus fears will keep a lid on demand for the time being.”

The report heavily focused on comparing the supply and pending sales of the past six months with the first six months of the recession as well. They also focused on what’s known as the “market pulse,” which essentially is the ratio of pending sales to actual supply. A lower ratio number would reflect that there are more sellers than buyers. 

In September 2007, supply increased by 10% every quarter and pending sales were dropping at a rate of 30%, according to past analysis’. The 15 quarters that followed showed a steady increase in supply, and a major drop in pending sales; 50%, dropping the market pulse from 1 to .16. When the pandemic initially shut everything down in March, there was a major drop in pending sales, which boosted supply, however, it was nowhere nearly as quickly as it dropped in 2007. 

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The market pulse is currently at a .22, which has been expected due to a general pulse decline within the past five years in Manhattan; in late 2019 the pulse was at .3. Rosenblatt and Walkup noted that sellers today in the metropolitan are still facing the heaviest competition in nearly a decade due to the increase in properties available, and willingness from sellers to negotiate their pricing. “Clearly, the economic impact of the pandemic has yet to be fully tallied, but in the meantime, it appears that the market for Manhattan real estate is functional, just fearful.”

Overall, however, the two believe that comparing the state of the market now to what it was during the Great Recession is like comparing “apples to oranges.” While there may be many general similarities the differences fully outweigh them. There have been spikes in the unemployment rates during both events, however it’s broken major records within the past six months because the job losses are more sudden and frequent. The two do believe, however, that whenever this pandemic does come to an end unemployment will hopefully bounce back quickly, and the supply and demand of the market will follow. 

“NYC real estate and the economy, in general, are weighing other exogenous forces so with that in mind, certainly, there is more room for real estate to go down, but in the long run, the city will renew itself, even if the process might be bumpy.”

Industry workers believe now would be a great time to invest and negotiate in real estate if you are lucky enough to have that ability right now. They also believe that Manhattan hasn’t seen the absolute worst that the pandemic can do in regards to negatively impacting the market and sales, so like the rest of the country and its many industries, they’re taking every precaution currently imaginable to stay afloat.