Escape from New York

Large numbers of New Yorkers fled their plague-ridden city to wait out the epidemic in less-horrible havens from southern Florida to Martha’s Vineyard. How many will stay away for good?

Five percent of New York City’s population has fled since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the city, new smartphone data reveals.

From March 1 to May 1, about 420,000 residents of the Big Apple – home to nearly 8.4 million people – particularly from the wealthiest neighborhoods, reported The New York Times.

While there was relatively little change in some zip codes, others such as SoHo, the West Village, Morningside Heights, the Upper East Side, the Financial District, Midtown, Gramercy and Brooklyn Heights emptied by at least 40 percent.

Meanwhile, Manhattan’s overall population has fallen by almost 20 percent as the lockdown enters its third month.

Of course, they spread the virus far and wide in the process:

People that live in vacation towns, such as the Hamptons in Long Island and the Catskills in upstate, complained that their grocery stores were being emptied by city people who were living in their summer homes.

Last month, officials said the price of rental homes in the Hamptons soared from $5,000 per month to more than $30,000 for a two-weeks period.

Small town populations practically doubled as Big Apple residents fled to their summer homes, but locals said city dwellers were bringing COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, with them.

By the way, how do so many companies have access to our phone location data?

For its report, The Times looked at data provided by New Mexico-based Descartes Labs, a geospatial imagery analytics company.

The company used anonymous smartphone geolocation data to track where New York City residents were in February, and whether they left the city or not after the pandemic.

Will there be a massive exodus of young professionals from the New York metro area when the dust settles? I would put the odds at 50-50. Perhaps workers with families will migrate permanent from Manhattan’s office towers to their comfy suburban home offices, while those with fewer attachments will just flee the region to sunnier climes.

2 thoughts on “Escape from New York

  1. I wonder if we will see a permanent shift, particularly, of digital nomads who will move to states with lesser lock down restrictions.

    • Yes, that’s what I was getting at. Well, hopefully the lockdown restrictions won’t last forever, but I could see some people moving for ideological reasons to states that *had* lesser restrictions. With NYC I think the main issue will be a reluctance to pay thousands of dollars a month for a box in a crowded, badly governed, disease-ridden city.

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