by Gilbert B Norman
Hope all find interesting and informative as I "shot" one of my ten articles a month I'm allowed to share (The Times now limits its $1400yr Home Delivery subscribers to ten shared articles a month; seems "draconian", but who am I to question Gray Lady's wisdom):
New York Times
New York Times
The sun rises on a weekday in New York City, and at a Queens subway station the daily grind resembles its old self: Thousands of people pile onto an open-air platform above a bustling neighborhood, waiting in the cold to crowd onto rush-hour trains toward work, school and other essential appointments.
Hours later, as darkness falls, another rush hour begins. But this one, at a formerly hectic subway station in Lower Manhattan, feels jarringly different. In a neighborhood lined with office buildings, a once-reliable stream of white-collar commuters has thinned to a trickle. As trains arrive, finding a seat is not hard.
Nearly two years after the coronavirus engulfed New York, causing a virtual abandonment of the country’s largest transportation network, riders have slowly returned to the subway in an uneven pattern that underscores the economic divide at the heart of the city’s fitful recovery.
Stations in lower-income areas in Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan, where residents are less likely to be able to work from home and typically depend more on public transit, have rebounded far faster than stations in office-heavy sections of Manhattan, including some that were once the busiest in the system, where many workers are still able to work remotely.
The problems hobbling the subway have gotten worse since the arrival of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, which has reversed a recovery that had been progressing for months. The system is also contending with fears about crime and public safety that were amplified after a woman was shoved to her death in front of a train on Saturday by a 61-year-old man at the Times Square station.
After cratering by 90 percent in the spring of 2020, weekday subway ridership in November had reached about 56 percent of prepandemic levels, with 3.1 million riders on an average day, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the system.