Business leaders feel sidelined in COVID-19 recovery in NYC

New York City's business leaders have looked for ways to help the city during its looming financial crisis, as they have done previously in tough times, but some say they haven't found much of a partner in Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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The new coronavirus pandemic has devastated the city's economy and erased billions of dollars in tax revenue. Nearly 650,000 people were unemployed as of August and thousands of small businesses have closed since March.

Executives across major industries have offered their assistance, as they did in the 1970s and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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"I don't feel like we have a plan as it relates to the city emerging better and stronger," said Scott Rechler, chief executive of RXR Realty, a developer and property manager whose portfolio includes several midtown buildings.

Rechler was one of more than 160 business leaders who signed an open letter last month warning of deteriorating conditions in the city and growing anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality-of-life issues. They urged the mayor to restore some essential services like garbage pickups and graffiti removal that had been reduced or eliminated from the city's most recent budget.

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