New York City revs up again


Three days after New York loosened its restrictions, a doorman at Marie’s Crisis Cafe left his post at the front of the line to make an announcement. “Last call in 15 minutes,” he informed us. “If you want a drink, you might consider going somewhere else.” The couple in front of us heeded his advice and joined the cocktail-seekers storming Chelsea. But we stayed, stubbornly hopeful. He let in a party of three. We moved up. The clock ticked closer to midnight. He looked at our longful expressions and, with an air of resignation, asked to see proof of our vaccinations. We showed him photos of our vaccination cards on our phones, and within seconds, we were belting out Broadway show tunes in a piano bar with other liberated songbirds.

After 14 months, we could finally let it go — our sense of isolation, our anxiety, our masks.

On May 19, the Empire State, which had enacted some of the strictest rules in the country, ended capacity limits for most businesses and mask requirements for vaccinated individuals outside and inside. New York City, meanwhile, rescinded the midnight curfew on restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and will allow establishments with indoor tables to resume their pre-pandemic hours on May 31. Also this month, Gotham’s subway system started running overnight again, and the mayor announced that the city will eliminate the 5.8 percent hotel occupancy tax from June through August.


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