Summer of Love, 2021, in New York

For decades, certain corners of the city were so smoothed by money they seemed off-limits to those just starting out as adults. But for one brief shining moment, it all belongs to the young.

Walking around Lower Manhattan on a recent weeknight, a middle-aged, slightly graying man wasn’t sure if it was he who had changed or New York. True, he hadn’t been out much lately … but something was different.

He walked from SoHo to NoLIta along Prince Street, then turned down Mulberry. That’s where it hit him: Everyone on the street seemed to be young, like a scene from the sci-fi movie “Logan’s Run.”

Their reign over the city is just getting started. Sofia Pace, a 21-year-old student at Baruch College who grew up in the East Village, mentioned in a phone interview a meme she saw recently on Instagram. It said: “This summer in New York is going in the Bible.”

“That’s the best way that I can describe how people my age are looking at it, that it’s going in the Bible,” Ms. Pace said. “The energy level could not be higher going into the summer months.”

Ms. Pace usually spends summers in Southampton, working as a nanny and escaping the stifling heat. This summer, she doesn’t want to miss the action in the city. She took a retail job at Eric Emanuel, a streetwear brand that opened its first store in April in SoHo. And she’s busy making plans with friends, many of whom have upgraded to sweet new apartments since the pandemic depressed rents.

“My friends and I have discussed that we’re almost a little scared,” Ms. Pace said. “Like it’s going to be out of control.”

For New York’s 20-somethings, who have spent more than a year of their young adulthood cooped up during a pandemic and watched their social lives atrophy, summer 2021 is shaping up to be the most anticipated of their lives. And it may turn out to be more than just a three-month bacchanal. This season could be the start of a social, entrepreneurial and creative rebirth in New York, one that they lead. A city that had seemed impenetrable for decades, overrun by Bugaboo strollers and Land Rovers, is now theirs for the taking.

Youthquake moments tend to emerge from austere and dark periods in history. Think of Paris in the 1920s, as the Lost Generation cast off the trauma of the First World War, or swinging London in the ’60s, an explosion of new music, fashion and art following the second.

“I’ve gone to every single Sunday,” said Mr. Pezzino, who predicted a renaissance of nightlife based on what he’s observed. “Everyone is very much ready to give somebody a hug and just be wild again. People are ready to go.”

It all really started last summer. As tens of thousands of older New Yorkers fled, many of the young and single rode out the first wave of Covid-19 in the city. There were illicit house parties in Bushwick. In SoHo, artists turned boarded-up storefronts into canvasses for graffiti art, part of the Black Lives Matter protests that took place throughout the city and, at times, seemed like a sea of young people in the streets. “For the first time in decades,” wrote the culture website Hyperallergic, “SoHo is teeming with art.”

In Brooklyn’s McGolrick Park, a group of cool kids put on a charity bazaar that raised $150,000 for social justice causes and became the summer hang. Called Sidewalk Sale, the biweekly event sold haircuts, handmade ceramics and clothes from Chloë Sevigny’s closet. In “Dimes Square,” the nickname for the area of Canal Street near the restaurant Dimes, two friends and recent college graduates started a print newspaper, the Drunken Canal, to chronicle their downtown lives in the Covid era (a list of proposed “Lenten Sacrifices” in one issue included “pretending to social distance”).

These endeavors recall a looser, more grass-roots and creative-centered city than the one of recent years. One result of the pandemic has been to push pause on the uninterrupted money culture that’s been the dominant theme in New York since the Bloomberg administration and squeezed young artists and entrepreneurs to the margins or priced them out.

As the lockdowns ease and people re-emerge into the city, “that energy is really going to explode,” Mr. Rosario said.

Recently, Ms. Iaquinta and her boyfriend went on a date in Manhattan, something they hadn’t done for ages. In Washington Square Park, where a crowd of hundreds had gathered on a Saturday night, she saw the social supernova firsthand.

“Everyone was dancing, listening to music, smoking weed,” Ms. Iaquinta said. “Everyone was out and happy. Everyone looked like a science project but in a wonderful way.”

She was heartened by these inheritors of post-pandemic New York.

“Those people who were unsure have migrated, and that has left room for people who are hungry to come right in,” she said. “It was so reassuring for what comes next.”

Source link Real Estate

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