Weather: Nice and sunny. High around 70.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Nov. 1 (All Saints Day).
For many New York City parents, the choice between in-person classes or remote learning wasn’t just about their child’s education.
Parents like Margaret Li, of Queens, worried: If she sent her sons back to school, would that put her 68-year-old mother at risk of infection?
Since the summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s biggest goal was returning New York City’s students to its public schools after the city significantly reduced its coronavirus infection rates.
Despite pushback from principals who complained of staff shortages, and despite delays to the start of the school year and concerns about the virus spreading in classrooms, some students went back to in-person classes. But in District 26, a largely immigrant school district in northeastern Queens, the parents of two out of three students stuck with remote learning.
“While kids are safe, my mom is safe too,” Ms. Li told my colleague Juliana Kim. “Her health is most important to our family.”
Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
A Bronx man had Medicaid coverage for years, but now the state says he owes $32,000. [The City]
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will face “suffocating” debt if it doesn’t receive federal funds, the state comptroller said. [PIX 11]
After a decrease in MS-13 gang violence, Long Island residents debate whether President Trump deserves credit. [Gothamist]
And finally: New York’s tourism crisis
The Times’s Ceylan Yeginsu and Derek M. Norman write:
There’s no place like New York City: Last year, more than 13.5 million international visitors traveled here. (It’s one reason those “I ❤️ NY” T-shirts seemingly fly off the shelves at souvenir shops.)
But after the pandemic devastated New York, the tourism industry and the many workers who depend on it have yet to recover, even as plenty of businesses have reopened their doors.
“There’s no flights coming in, no tourists visiting,” Jean Metellus, a 71-year-old cabdriver, said as he waited hours for a fare outside Kennedy International Airport. “There’s less people on the streets.”
In August, fewer than 400,000 international passengers arrived at Kennedy, down 89 percent from the more than 3.5 million in the same month last year. The city’s food and beverage sector has lost nearly 200,000 jobs since March. The occupancy rate for hotels is about 40 percent, a decrease from more than 80 percent in August 2019. And the demand for taxis and ride-app services in June was down 71 percent, though lately those numbers have begun to rebound.
There is a slight bright side: The road to recovery may begin with locals.
A ticket agent for a city tour bus in Times Square said many of his customers were New Yorkers looking for a way to get themselves and their children out of the house. A waitress in Little Italy found it encouraging that many of her diners were from the neighborhood and using the absence of crowds on Mulberry Street to finally try some of the nearby cuisine.
The latest on how schools are reopening amid the pandemic.
“I’m hoping we get back our tourist clientele, but I have to say I’m enjoying seeing the locals being able to enjoy all these tourist spots without crowds,” said Keila Munoz, a 30-year-old supervisor at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, as she worked the counter, behind a clear barrier, on a recent Tuesday.
She added: “I’m getting to see another side of things, which is these people from around here that have never been in a place like Ripley’s. I like seeing New Yorkers being able to see what New York has to offer, without tourists getting in the way. So, that’s a plus of all of this. But now, we need that balance of both.”
It’s Wednesday — enjoy what New York has to offer.
Metropolitan Diary: Downpour
The air was thick on my walk back from Astoria Park. I had only been living in the neighborhood for a couple of months, and I was already contemplating whether I should even have come back to the city. Nothing was going quite right, and I didn’t feel at home.
Suddenly a torrential downpour started. I ran to take cover under the roof of what looked like a legion club of some sort.
An older man stuck his head out the door and said to come in and take a seat.
Inside were tables with food and posters of pinup models and sports memorabilia hung on the walls. It was clear that a card game was about to start.
A few minutes later, the man who had urged me to come in and a couple of other guys came to me with a huge garbage bag and scissors. They proceeded to make me the nicest trash-bag poncho I had ever seen. We all started laughing as I put it on, and they asked if it was all right.
“Perfect,” I said.
I was almost back to my apartment when the rain stopped. Astoria was starting to feel like home.
— Melissa Trauscht
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