- Since the pandemic, many businesses that never closed are already doing so. The reasons are crime on the streets and in the Metro – aggravated by the penal reform and homelessness – and the lack of personnel. Also, the loss of population in Manhattan, thanks to the hybrid work option
“I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps…”, says the famous song New York, New York by Fred Ebb in reference to the many activities that could be done 24 hours a day in the most populous city in the US, especially in restaurants, bars, convenience stores and tourist bazaars.
But since the pandemic, many businesses that never closed are already doing so. The basic reasons are crime on the streets and in the subway -exacerbated by penal reform and homelessness- and the lack of personnel, according to experts. Another factor is the loss of population in Manhattan, thanks to the hybrid work option.
“More bars and restaurants are closing their doors earlier,” The New York Times summarized this week. Even iconic USPS mail stations once open 24 hours a day now close to prevent homelessness.
Foodie writer Rachel Sugar says the new “rush hour” at restaurants is 6 p.m., two hours earlier than usual. There are also many more people ordering food delivery than before. As a result, e-bikes are now the livelihood of at least 65,000 delivery people in NYC.
Certainly some neighborhoods are busier than others, but even in the global tourist mecca Times Square something typical like grabbing a drink or eating after leaving a Broadway play or movie has become complicated.
For many residents and tourists accustomed to a 24-hour city like its five-borough Metro, earlier closing times can be disconcerting and frustrating. Experts know that the old nightlife scene in the city center has been transformed and migrated to other areas, but in none of them is there a guarantee of finding options open until late as before.
Most cinemas and bars are closing before or around midnight, and kitchens much earlier. Also cocktails now usually start at 5 or 6 p.m.
Places like “L’Express French Bistro” on Park Ave. South had been operating 24 hours a day since it opened 25 years ago. Now it closes at 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and at 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. “The main reason is that we are a little bit concerned about the safety of the employees that are going home,” the manager, Hugo Rodríguez, told Fox News. Curiously, its neighbor “Morton Williams” is one of the few supermarkets in NYC that is still open 24 hours.
Wo Hop in Chinatown was open until 4:30 a.m. and now it closes at 10 p.m. Few restaurant bars like “JG Melon” (Midtown East) work until 3 a.m. six nights a week and the legendary “Katz’s Delicatessen” on the bustling, bohemian Lower East Side now only operates 24 hours on Saturday, meaning it’s only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday until 11 p.m. Sunday. Other areas with a greater margin of night operation are West Village (Manhattan) and Williamsburg (Brooklyn).
Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City (PFNYC) business group admits that safety is a widespread problem for workers. “We have seen difficulties getting employees and customers to come to work 24/7. People are more nervous about security conditions at night.”
The pandemic, the anti-police climate and penal reform have been identified as factors that have triggered crime in NYC, particularly robberies in stores, pharmacies and warehouses.
Additionally, violence and homelessness have skyrocketed in the Metro, the main means of transportation in NYC because it covers the entire city 24 hours a day. Mayor Eric Adams, whose election campaign focused on public safety, has announced several measures to make the subway safer, including deploying more police officers to stations and cars. But so far crime is still on the rise.
Adams, whose election campaign focused on public safety, has announced several measures to make the subway safer, including deploying more police officers to stations and cars. But so far crime is still on the rise.
In addition to crime, traffic accidents have been another big challenge for the new mayor Adams. New York City had already experienced a 35% increase in traffic accidents in April, especially at night, the NYPD warned. At the end of that month there was a tragic streak at an average of one person killed by a run over every day.
NYC is no longer the city that never sleeps.
— Linda Schmidt (@LSchmidtFox5) September 21, 2022