NYC has lost over 5,000 Manhattan businesses during the COVID pandemic

Business numbers in Manhattan plummeted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, more than erasing gains in the other boroughs as New Yorkers worked from home and largely stayed away from the Big Apple’s skyline-defining towers.

Data released this week by city auditor Brad Lander shows that the number of private companies operating in Manhattan fell by 5,200 in the last three months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. The report was first noted by non-profit news outlet The City.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest shock to New York City’s private facility ecosystem in decades, forcing many businesses to close and reshaping their distribution across the city,” the analysis said.

This more than offset gains reported in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island, leaving Gotham with a net loss of more than 4,000 businesses over the period, down 1.5% from the total of around 275,000 private storefronts and Pre-pandemic facilities.

One shop that remains, The Vintage Twin, has begun to recover as its visitors from around the world return to New York City.

“I can definitely say it hasn’t fully returned yet,” said the store’s chief executive, Sereina Brenhofer, who was hired in April.

Sales are up 64 percent year-on-year, but the store remains closed on Saturdays when it was open seven days a week before the coronavirus outbreak.

When the store’s chief operating officer spoke to The Post in July 2020, towards the end of the first deadly wave of COVID, she said the store was barely holding out.

“There are hours and hours when nobody comes into the store,” Alyssa Morrow, chief operating officer of SoHo clothing store The Vintage Twin, told The Post. “We are to the bone”

NYC Comptroller Brad Landers announced the results of an audit that showed the NYC Economic Development Corporation failed to cut nearly a quarter billion dollars in NYC Ferry-related spending.
NYC Comptroller Brad Landers released data showing Manhattan has lost over 5,000 private businesses during the pandemic.

Lander’s report showed that Brooklyn, the city’s most populous borough, fared far better, adding 1,267 new storefronts over the same period. The Bronx picked up 108 and Staten Island added 8. However, Queens lost 158.

“The large citywide decline in private facilities during the pandemic has also accelerated a trend in which an increasing proportion of facilities are being located away from Manhattan, particularly towards Brooklyn,” the Comptroller’s Office reported.

Lander’s analysis found that job declines in the five counties were even sharper during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers wait in line at a bakery as signs announce the availability of retail space for lease in the Bloomingdale section of Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, February 5, 2021 in New York, NY
Closed commercial and retail space available for lease lined the streets at the height of the pandemic.
James Keivom
A woman pushing a shopping cart approaches a boarded up retail store along Fifth Avenue in New York, NY, August 25, 2020.
The Comptroller also revealed that a sharp drop in employment has been matched by the loss of private companies.

“During the same period, New York City jobs fell by about 295,000, or 7 percent from the base of about 4 million at the end of 2019,” he reported. NYC has lost over 5,000 Manhattan businesses during the COVID pandemic


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