Industry Update
External Article21 September 2020

bloombergVirtual UN Is Latest Blow to New York City’s Battered Economy

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New Yorkers used to dread the snarled traffic of late September as thousands of diplomats, their motorcades and entourages would descend upon Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly.

They won't have to worry as the event kicks into high gear on Tuesday, with world leaders sending video speeches to a silent UN hall in the latest blow to New York City's faltering attempts to reopen in the age of Covid-19.

With the pandemic raging on and New York quarantine rules still in place, UN leaders decided to hold the event that marks the world body's 75th anniversary virtually this year, a reminder that while the city has crawled back from a health-care disaster, it's still far from regaining its international allure.

"It's kind of shocking not to be talking about road closures this time," Penny Abeywardena, who works with UN diplomats as the commissioner for international affairs in Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, said in an interview. "It's a shame that all that traffic we get to our bodegas, restaurants and bars will be gone. But it's a recognition of how serious New York is taking the pandemic."

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