To all 300,000 or so New Yorkers who left the city last March when COVID struck, plenty of whom are still biding time in the Hamptons and Connecticut and New Jersey or parts unknown, this is a pointed and personal appeal: Come back home.

Your city, and all the people still here, those who couldn’t leave, need your help. You still love New York, don’t you? You proudly lived here, even as you groused as we all do about the craziness, the smells, the traffic, the noise?

We need you. The wider city needs you. Your neighborhood needs you.

In the zip codes where you used to spend your days, and your money, lower-income and middle-class jobs have evaporated, with employment rates dropping 16.4% for low-income jobs and 17.8% for middle-income jobs since last January.

Remember the faces you used to see every day, and said a kind word to? The waiter at your usual place, the guy or gal who sold you the paper, the florist, the cleaner, your hairdresser, the dog walker, the tailors, the janitor, the barista, the cop and the schoolteacher?

They’re pieces of the big, beautiful puzzle that makes up New York, and you’re a puzzle piece too. That’s the thing about puzzles: They’re not complete without all the pieces.

Aren’t you sick of cooking? Does the takeout wherever you went hold a candle to what you’d get back home? Don’t you miss walking? Don’t you pine for the energy of the street? Aren’t you lonely out there?

Don’t listen to the cynics who say this place is dying. Crime and virus rates are still low, especially relative to the rest of the country.

Don’t let the decline and fall of New York City become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re here. We’re doing fine. Come back.


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