In the News: We’re not dead yet

©2020 Robert A. Ripps

The Times used the closing of the Amish Market as an anecdote to explain how Lower Manhattan has erased all gains since 2001. I assume they are using “Lower Manhattan” as below 14th Street, since these numbers are a lot higher than ours (70 storefronts closed) and the Downtown Alliance stats for south of Murray (120 storefronts closed). Here’s their main point: “More than 350 retailers in Lower Manhattan have shut down over the past 18 months. New malls built after the terror attacks have had few shoppers, and landlords have sued retailers for not paying rent. Seven hotels have closed permanently, and others have yet to reopen. Private-sector jobs have shrunk to 221,000, a smaller work force than in the months before 2001. Through the first seven months of 2021, daily ridership in the busiest subway stations in downtown reached just 6.3 million passengers, an 82 percent decrease from the same period in 2019, according to an analysis by The New York Times of subway ridership data.”

Plus this: “More than 21 percent of Lower Manhattan’s office space is available for rent, a record high that is more than double the vacancy rate before the pandemic, according Newmark, a real to estate services company.”

The Guardian has a very long, in depth story on Chinatown and the effects on the neighborhood from 9/11 and the pandemic. “The number of Asian Americans in the state filing for unemployment benefits increased by more than 6,000% from April 2019 to April 2020, more than three times the rate of the general population. In part, this is because Asian-run businesses were concentrated in industries particularly affected by lockdown, such as restaurants, nail salons and transportation.” … “The sheer length of the pandemic has affected businesses more profoundly. Anti-Asian sentiment in the US remains high. New mutations of the virus, like Delta, are presenting new threats. With so many restaurants and storefronts now sitting empty, ‘[Chinatown] is more vulnerable now to gentrification than before,’ said Hunter College sociologist Margaret M. Chin. ‘The whole city is vulnerable to that right now.'”



  1. Ahh, yes that piece in the Times was not a complete picture at all.

  2. The NYT piece was incredibly disappointing and frankly irresponsible in its reporting. Using the Amish Market closing as the bellwether is ridiculous. No mention was made of any of the many new restaurants and retailers that have opened during the crisis. Many more are poised to open soon. Whole Foods (for real this time) is opening next summer, along with a 78,000 sf Life Time Fitness gym next door. Alamo Draft House is opening a 14 theater multiplex this fall at 28 Liberty. Jean George is opening his 50,000 sf food hall this winter at the Seaport. Carne Mare, Bar Ssam, Mister Dips, Saga, Lil Chef Mama, Seaport House, Gnoccheria and others have OPENED during this time. A new Food Hall by Urbanspace is opening later this year at 7 Hanover with 16 new vendors. Yes, some hotels have closed but MANY more are about to open like the FiDi Hotel on Stone, The Wall Street Hotel at 88 Wall, the massive Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn on Pearl, the Indigo on Water and the Aloft on Rector. The Andaz recently announced that it would be reopening as well, on October 1st. There was not a single mention of any of these. Luckily, my page reports on all of these things and more, so people know that not all is doom and gloom, In fact, things are far better than the press would have you believe.

    • “In fact, things are far better than the press would have you believe.”

      They always are… press (esp written press) tends to take on a much more negative tone in general.

      Amish Market was a big draw at lunchtime for workers in the downtown area. Regardless, Amish had wanted out of their lease for years. Lots of infighting with landlord, from what I heard.

  3. Hey Luis—
    I’m new on Facebook and tried to join the FiDi fan page and didn’t get a reply and can no longer even access it when I search so that I can just read it. I’m not too Facebook-savvy. Did I do something wrong? Is there any way I can atone for whatever it was and get in? :-)

    I appreciate your posting here because I spend a lot of time in FiDi (I’m in BPC) and would like to keep up.

  4. Hello Hudson River, I do my best to make sure anyone that I add is a real person and since you showed up as “new” to facebook, was suspicious. Send me an email at and let me know what name you applied under and I will unblock and add you. :-).