NYC Still Seeing Just 66% Of Pre-Pandemic Foot Traffic

While COVID-19 and the draconian lockdown measures imposed by leftist leaders clearly took a devastating toll on the economies of big cities across the country, some have had a harder time than others recapturing the foot traffic lost during that period.

According to the latest evidence available, New York City remains stuck at only about two-thirds of the foot traffic that was common across Manhattan — particularly in the once-bustling Times Square area — prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Researchers at the University of Toronto relied on smartphone tracking data to gauge how many people were walking along Midtown streets at any given time, concluding that the number was down about 33% compared to 2019.

A number of factors have likely contributed to the trend, including a rise in remote work over the past several years. The current workplace reality is on full display in the fact that more than half of the offices across the city remain unoccupied.

Nevertheless, other issues unrelated to the pandemic have also probably exacerbated the situation in New York City, resulting in a recovery rate that places it near the bottom — 54th out of 66 — of all major U.S. metro areas.

Along with other cities that ranked about the same or even lower, such as Chicago and San Francisco, the Big Apple has experienced an uptick in crime over the past several years, which has likely discouraged some people who would otherwise visit Manhattan to stay away.

Furthermore, even Democratic Mayor Eric Adams has acknowledged the negative impact the city’s “sanctuary” status has had as the Biden administration’s permissive border policies facilitate an ongoing invasion of undocumented migrants.

Meanwhile, some cities that have prioritized services designed to appeal to locals and visitors have seen their foot traffic approach — and in the case of Las Vegas, exceed — their pre-COVID levels.

For his part, radio host and native New Yorker John Catsimatidis believes the current situation is unsustainable and convincing people to return to vacant office buildings is one step toward addressing the problem.

“I’m very concerned about New York City,” he declared. “Right now, Manhattan has one nail in the coffin.”