Contrary to certain “ghostly” claims, at the close of a year that’s upended urban life as we know it, New York City has, to a large degree, managed to adapt. New Yorkers’ expectations have adjusted to all sorts of new normals: social distancing; remote working and learning; (semi-)open streets and permanent sidewalk dining. It’s almost easy to forget the sheer confusion of navigating and negotiating space which marked the early days of the pandemic. Almost. For Mark Dicus of the SoHo Broadway Initiative, that inflection point — March 16, 2020 to be exact — ushered in a radically-altered streetscape along one of New York City’s most heavily-trafficked pedestrian corridors. From shutdowns and boarded-up stores, to protests and looting, SoHo (along with other destination neighborhoods) has seen more than its fair share of jarring contrasts in 2020. Amid a cautious reopening, Dicus reflects on the dramatic changes he’s witnessed, and how the public realm will play a key role in the recovery of a neighborhood — and city — whose future remains an open question.
All photos courtesy of the SoHo Broadway Initiative.
The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.