Is New York City in a death spiral, or will it mount an epic comeback from the impacts of the pandemic? New York Gritty explores the resiliency of New Yorkers in a time of crisis. Will they find a way to bring their city back from the brink of economic disaster, or has New York been irreversibly changed? The spread of coronavirus transformed the Big Apple in previously unimaginable ways, from shutting down the subway system overnight for the first time to dimming the lights on Broadway indefinitely. Over 1 million jobs were lost across New York during the shutdown. The city faces a projected $13 billion budget shortfall over the next four years. Each of the ten episodes of New York Gritty highlights a different area of the city’s economy and social fabric as host Steve Kastenbaum celebrates the anonymous and famous heroes who keep New York’s magic alive during dark times. The veteran radio journalist explores the looming challenges through the personal stories of his fellow New Yorkers. New York Gritty will premiere on February 16th.
Ep 13. NYC The Road Ahead
Throughout the New York Gritty podcast we heard from people in a variety of areas who share the unshakeable belief that New York will mount an epic recovery from the pandemic crisis, that it is just a matter of time. The city bounced back from many crises in the past - the fiscal crisis of the 1970’s, a crime wave in the late 80’s and early 90’s, 9/11, the Great Recession, superstorm Sandy. Through each major event New Yorkers banded together and showed their resilience while waiting for the city to recover. In this season one finale episode, New York Gritty looks at what lessons can be learned from the past to guide the city through its current crisis and the inevitable comeback.
Ep 12. I Love NY, Still
Almost 67 million people visited New York in 2019. Tourists spent over $40 billion while in the city that year. The tourism industry supported more than 403,000 jobs in New York before the pandemic. While domestic tourists started returning in the 2nd quarter of 2021, there's a long way to go before reaching pre-pandemic figures, and international travel is still at a virtual standstill. New York depends greatly on tourist dollars. The outlook is for a big increase in visitors when Broadway reopens in September. But most forecasts say tourism in New York won't reach pre-pandemic levels again until 2024. There's a renewed push to tell travelers that New York is open for business, and it's never been more affordable. An overabundance of hotel rooms means you can spend a night in New York at a good hotel for as little as $100 a night.
Ep 11. Broadway Redux - Eva Price
The longest shutdown in the history of Broadway has an end in sight. If all goes according to plan, many theaters will reopen in September. When the theater district went dark it starved New York of a $1.75 billion industry. The loss of tourists in the Theater District had a ripple effect and many businesses closed for good. When the lights come back on, more than 12,000 people will return to an art form that is part of the heart and soul of New York City. Jagged Little Pill producer Eva Price reflects on the long journey to the return of theater on the Great White Way.
Ep 10. Real Estate Redo
Real Estate is king in New York. The city has been growing non-stop ever since the Dutch arrived in 1609. In 2019, real estate generated $31.9 billion in tax revenue for the city. That’s 53% of New York’s total tax revenue. The stable source of revenue provided the foundation for a myriad of public services, making New York an attractive and desirable place to live. But when the Covid pandemic hit and office towers emptied out, it put the future of real estate in question. The issue was compounded when the residential vacancy rate hit a record high. The real estate sector is pivoting to meet the changing needs of the city's commercial and residential tenants, and an evolving landscape.
Ep 9. Pandemic Sexposure
It's not clear how many people worked in the sex trade in New York prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It's a broad term that covers a wide variety of work. Much if it is legal and doesn't include sexual intercourse. But when the city shut down in March of 2020, whether they were strippers, escorts or dominatrixes, they were pushed further into the margins. Many found their way onto adult websites, competing in an already crowded marketplace. But as their pandemic wore on, some started seeing clients again, and a few never stopped.
Ep 8. Retail Reality Check
The more than 344,000 people who work in retail stores across New York City earned over $16 billion in wages in 2019. When the pandemic shut down was enacted, foot traffic in New York's commercial corridors fell by 90%. By December 2020 it was still down 16% compared to in the previous year. While online commerce exploded in 2020, retail business owners fell further behind in paying their rent and bills. The impact was felt the most in places where people had less to spend. Those mom and pop businesses are determined to stay afloat, but they need help to stop from sinking.
In-depth and Insightful
This podcast is gripping and compelling, taking us into the hearts and lives of several New Yorkers who are fighting back against an invisible foe that has tragically taken so many lives and livelihoods. Through Kastenbaum’s in-depth exploration of various industries impacted by the coronavirus, he illustrates the tenacity and ingenuity that has always made NYC great and will make it great once again.
Great topic, interviewees, and host
Steve’s enthusiasm for NYC and its post-covid future is a marvel, and he finds and draws out some great stories of the pandemic. I have loved the first four episodes, despite never ever making time for podcasts, and I will definitely finish the series.
I'm not a New Yorker but find this podcast compelling and extremely interesting. Kastenbaum really nails the heart of the city in a way that enables him to translate the vibe across the screen. A real picture painter. Looking foward to more