Real Estate Agency Hopes Cuomo’s Firearms Emergency Will Help New York Tourism – Commercial Observer


Tourism is $ 80 billion industry in the Big Apple, but recent fears of gun violence could impede its recovery – and this is a concern for the business community.

After tourism was hit hard during the pandemic, the city’s problem of firearms attracted the attention of the entire country when the governor. Andrew Cuomo declared it an emergency on Tuesday. The real estate industry is wondering when travelers will return to city streets and what those streets will look like when they return.

“Tourists are starting to slowly return to the city, but the press, as it should be, is focused on violence in the street,” Dan Biederman, the president 34th Street Partnership and executive director Bryant Park Corporation, two Manhattan neighborhoods for business improvement, said the Commercial Observer… “The fact that the number of filming is growing does not contribute to the return of tourism.”

Just days after Cuomo’s decree the mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $ 30 million investment in the city’s federal-dollar tourism campaign to create a television spot showcasing New York City. Three of them will air from summer to holiday season as the mayor’s office hopes to bring tourism back to 2019 levels.

The real estate community wants to bring back visitors too. Landlords, hotels and the city all rely on industry, and tourism indirectly supported 376,800 jobs in 2019 and accounted for 7.2 percent of total private sector employment. according to April report from New York State Comptroller’s Office… But in 2020, the number of visits dropped by 67% compared to 2019, the report said.

While Cuomo’s state of emergency could draw more attention to the amount of crime in the city, the real estate community welcomed his efforts with open arms.

Representative Durst Organizationwho owns valuable real estate in Manhattan that is likely to be affected by changes in tourism, Cuomo said, the efforts were appreciated by a major homeowner. IN NYC Real Estate Board (REBNY) agreed and welcomed Cuomo’s decision, saying it is part of a journey to reignite tourism.

“As New York moves towards economic recovery, public safety remains a top priority in efforts to get workers back to the office, support small businesses and revitalize tourism,” said the president of REBNY. James Whelan – said in a statement for CO. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for focusing wisely and comprehensively on strategies to combat gun violence, strengthen communities, and create good jobs for New Yorkers who are struggling.”

Other urban landlords and organizations whose properties could be affected by declining tourism as a result of the alleged increase in gunfights were less likely to discuss Cuomo’s claim. Empire State Realty Trustwho owns the iconic Empire State Building, declined to comment, as did New York and company, the city’s official tourism board.

But even with headlines about gun violence, Biederman hoped that tourists, at least domestically, would return to the city.

“After March, there was absolutely nothing for most of last year,” Biederman said. “We started noticing tiny signs of tourists coming back about six weeks ago, to the point where I greeted them and said, ‘Thank you for coming to New York.’ Now it is not so rare to see tourists. “

Even with Cuomo’s declaration of a state of emergency, killings and shootings in the city in June fell from the same period last year, according to the agency. New York City Police Departmentfrom CompStat data, while arrests with firearms increased.

In announcing the announcement, Cuomo said more people are dying from gun violence and crime than from COVID-19. In the state, in June alone, 343 people died from COVID-19. The newspaper “New York Times data, bbut only 82 people died as a result of the use of firearms from January to May 2021… New York had 165 shooting incidents in June and 33 murders, compared with 191 deaths from COVID-19… It is unclear what other deaths of “criminals” Cuomo mentioned in his statement.

A spokesman for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

The homicide rate fell by about 23 percent, or from 33 to 43, in June 2021 compared to the same period last year. Shooting incidents also fell 19.5 percent, from 205 in June 2020 to 165 in June this year. However, the number of people detained with the use of firearms was 361, which is 99.4 percent more compared to the same period in 2020.

Crime in general has grown slightly – just over three percent compared to June 2020. And that increase may make sense given the context of the state’s resumption of operations following the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of a curfew triggered by the protests.

After protests against police brutality last year, de Blasio imposed a curfew from 20:00 to 5:00 in the first week of June – the first in the city since 1943, Informs CO. The rental market was in decline due to local housing restrictions that banned some brokers from showing lists… Retailers were closing their doors and the inhabitants fled expensive cities. Meanwhile, the landlords were go to court to sue for missed rent.

New York is much more open today than it was last year. Cuomo COVID-19 restrictions lifted after reaching the vaccination threshold, 70 percent of adults in the state. Life is returning to the city as movie theaters, retailers and construction companies are allowed to reopen, although mask requirements remain. in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

However, crime has increased over the past six months compared to the first six months of 2020. 718 filming from January 1 to June 27. this year up from 503 in the same period last year, according to Wall Street Magazine… This 215th increase is significant, but it comes at a time when tourists and businesses are returning to the city and not running away from it

But Kevin Ward, VP of Security as for 34th Street Partnership and Bryant Park Corporation, expressed concern that the lag in the judiciary and the lack of prosecution of persons convicted of illegal possession of firearms are to blame for the increase in crime. When asked if the pandemic could have led to a drop in crime rates last year by triggering an artificial rise in 2021, he said the pandemic’s impact is likely to be linked only to a slowdown in prosecutions, not crime.

And Republican leaders of the State Assembly and Senate have likewise argued that Cuomo’s move distracted you from recent state law changes that abolished bail bonds for most misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. Bail reform proponents argue that the change makes the criminal justice system fairer, WSJ reported.

Cuomo’s order calls for the payment of $ 138.7 million the attachment in intervention and prevention programs, and in the creation of new Subdivision for the suppression of illicit trafficking in weapons of the state policespending $ 2.5 million. It will also waive state laws requiring prior review and competitive bidding for certain costs. WSJ reported. State control, which controls most of government spending, said they are still considering the impact of Cuomo’s decision.

“Gun Violence is a Growing Problem in New York,” Jennifer Freeman, representative of the financial controller Tom DiNapoli, – said in a statement for CO. “We have to tackle this problem at the local and state level. Any strategies must be developed with broad public participation, and spending must be open and transparent and follow a process that protects and records taxpayer money. ”

About $ 76 million will go to job creation and community events for youth, including $ 10 million for summer jobs in hot spots of gun violence, $ 2 million for youth activities in these areas, and $ 18.5 million for vocational training, according to the governor.

An additional $ 50.2 million will go towards fighting firearms and fighting crime, including building a new Office for the Prevention of Firearms Violence, crime analysis centers and violence prevention programs such as SNUG, where nonprofits hire workers to mediate disputes, according to Cuomo and WSJ

Cuomo’s announcement also included a new law that allows gun victims to sue arms dealers and manufacturers. However, the person must demonstrate that the seller acted recklessly and did not establish reasonable control to prevent the illegal sale or sale of its products in the state, in accordance with WSJ

The new legislation allowing victims of firearm violence to file claims is intended to avoid the 2005 federal restriction on such claims and is likely to be challenged in court. New York Attorney General Laetitia James the statement said it welcomes the enactment of the new law.

And REBNY stands ready to work with the attorney general and others to keep the city on track to recovery.

“REBNY and its members look forward to working with the governor and elected officials across the state to further improve public safety and quality of life as we continue to build momentum for New York’s greatest comeback,” Whelan said in a statement.

Celia Young can be reached at

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