Zack Stertz and Zoe Salzman had lived in Brooklyn for 15 years. But the coronavirus made them rethink staying in their two-bedroom apartment, which they felt was too small for working from home with two young sons, especially if schools did not open for in-person classes in the fall.
So they moved to Maplewood, N.J., this summer.
“To give up living in Brooklyn and move to suburbs, we just couldn’t see ourselves there,” said Ms. Salzman, 39, a lawyer whose office is in Manhattan. “But the pandemic helped make this choice for us.”
Demand for homes in New York City’s suburbs, including New Jersey, Westchester County, Connecticut and Long Island, has been surging as many companies continue to embrace remote work. Many buyers express worries about the health risks of living in packed urban neighborhoods, and want space and land that New York City often cannot provide.
What does the boom look like?
A three-bedroom house in East Orange, N.J., had 97 showings, received 24 offers and went under contract for 21 percent over the $285,000 price it was listed for. Six people made offers on a $499,000 house in Valley Stream on Long Island even though they had not seen it in person (the house had been shown on a Facebook Live video).
In July, there was a 44 percent increase in home sales for the suburban counties surrounding the city when compared with numbers in 2019, according to Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. The increase was 112 percent in Westchester and 73 percent in Fairfield County, Conn.
What about the number of properties sold in Manhattan? That dropped by 56 percent when compared with last year, according to Miller Samuel.
Has this happened before?
Not in recent memory, according to officials, real estate agents and residents.
Analysts say that the trend feels like the one that drove decades of suburbanization after World War II.
Of course, people have left the city for the suburbs for decades in search of high-performing public schools.
A vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus could change the calculus, especially if city workplaces reopen.
What are the consequences?
People who leave will no longer pay personal income tax to the city, dealing a potential blow to the city’s budget, said Maria Doulis, vice president of strategy and operations at the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog.
That could hinder the city’s ability to maintain police and sanitation services, she said.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that he had no doubt that New Yorkers who left during the pandemic would eventually return.
“If you don’t think New York City is coming back,” Mr. de Blasio said, “then you don’t know New York City.”
About $12 million in funds slated for improvements to ventilation systems, bathrooms and cooling systems at Manhattan public schools is being used instead to address the city’s budget deficit, according to the Manhattan borough president. [New York Post]
And finally: The U.S. Open
Matthew Futterman writes:
It was late March, and the leaders of tennis in the United States already knew that this year’s U.S. Open would be unlike anything they had ever experienced, if they could stage it at all.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 27, 2020
What should I consider when choosing a mask?
- There are a few basic things to consider. Does it have at least two layers? Good. If you hold it up to the light, can you see through it? Bad. Can you blow a candle out through your mask? Bad. Do you feel mostly OK wearing it for hours at a time? Good. The most important thing, after finding a mask that fits well without gapping, is to find a mask that you will wear. Spend some time picking out your mask, and find something that works with your personal style. You should be wearing it whenever you’re out in public for the foreseeable future. Read more: What’s the Best Material for a Mask?
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- In the beginning, the coronavirus seemed like it was primarily a respiratory illness — many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, though some people don’t show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and received supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April, the C.D.C. added to the list of early signs sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and nausea, has also been observed. Another telltale sign of infection may be a sudden, profound diminution of one’s sense of smell and taste. Teenagers and young adults in some cases have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes — nicknamed “Covid toe” — but few other serious symptoms.
Why does standing six feet away from others help?
- The coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using that measure, bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. But six feet has never been a magic number that guarantees complete protection. Sneezes, for instance, can launch droplets a lot farther than six feet, according to a recent study. It’s a rule of thumb: You should be safest standing six feet apart outside, especially when it’s windy. But keep a mask on at all times, even when you think you’re far enough apart.
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
With much of the world, and especially New York City, reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, they had no idea where or when the Open might take place, or if anyone would bother to show up for an event held in the city for more than 100 years, one of its biggest and most economically important festivals.
So Mike Dowse, the newly installed chief executive of the United States Tennis Association, set up a team to determine how to carry out the event, setting in motion a grand experiment that could show what international sports, as well as New York, might be capable of while navigating the public health threat.
Players, who began arriving in mid-August for a smaller tournament held before the U.S. Open begins today, are mostly cloistered in a Long Island hotel, preparing to play in cavernous stadiums without spectators at the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
And at the tennis center, where some 50,000 people usually pack the stadiums each day, there are few hints of the usual food, merchandising and corporate entertainment.
Dr. Bernard Camins, an infectious-diseases specialist at Mount Sinai Health Systems who advised the U.S.T.A. on its protocols, said that having athletes arrive from all over the world made staging the tournament especially complicated. Officials quickly determined that if they required a two-week quarantine period ahead of the tournament, no one would come. They decided instead to administer two tests within the first 48 hours and follow up on testing every four days.
“A living experiment, that is exactly how our eyes are viewing this,” said Dr. Andrew Wallach, chief medical officer for ambulatory care for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. “What we are going to learn from the tournaments is a little different than a football game, but we are going to learn about preparedness and testing protocols and tracing in a sporting event.”
It’s Monday — keep moving.
Metropolitan Diary: Same sweater
I was at the butcher waiting for the two sweet Italian sausages I had ordered. I turned to see a man behind me wearing a sweater that I also own.
“I own that same sweater,” I said.
“I love this sweater,” he said. “Barney’s on the Upper West Side?”
“Madison Avenue store,” I said. “Ten years ago?”
“I wish they’d had other colors,” I said.
“My wife hates the sweater.”
“I only wear it when she’s not around,” I said. “I feel guilty about that, like I’m cheating on her.”
“Your secret’s safe with me.”
I paid for the sausages.
“That was weird, no?” I said to the man in the sweater.
“Yeah,” he said. “Pretty weird.”
— Robert Schwartz
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