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“New York is America’s biggest city. It’s been shut down for over two months,” Varney said. “It will come back, but it will not be the same.”
Varney noted that 6th Avenue in Midtown was “almost deserted” Wednesday morning.
“To bring this back to life, the giant office buildings which line the street have to staff back up again,” he said. “In the age of social distancing and liability lawsuits, that's unlikely to happen anytime soon. That means fewer jobs, less tax revenue and sharp downward pressure on apartment and office rents.”
Varney also noted that theaters and entertainment venues, like Radio City Music Hall, won’t be filled for a long time.
“That means a serious downturn in the city's entertainment industry, which is a backbone of the city and a huge money earner,” he said. “How many aspiring actors, stagehands, musicians, ushers, makeup artists, cleaners and security people will not be coming back to work? And how many tourists will not turn up, and will not occupy a hotel room?”
Varney added that the city's social scene will suffer as well.
“Many [resturaunts and bars] will not reopen. Bartenders, waiters and cooks out of work and probably going out of town,” he said. “I know a lot of young up-and-comers who ask: What's the point of living in a city, in an expensive apartment box, when meeting other young people is more difficult and there are fewer young people anyway?”
Varney said he’s not blaming anyone but simply pointing out the largest city in the U.S. is “undergoing radical change.”
“It will not look and feel like the New York City we've known,” Varney said. “Even if it was opened up 100 percent tomorrow with no restrictions, it would still not be the same. That's the new reality.”