Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Dr. Dave Chokshi, the Commisioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene appears in a PSA on a TV in the Red Lion Pub’s outdoor seating area. Photo By Justin McGown

There are more than 27,000 restaurants, bars, and cafes in New York City. Or at least, there were before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite efforts to prevent the loss of cultural institutions and economic drivers embodied in these eateries, the New York Times estimated that more than 1,000 closed their doors for good by September. Some of those lost may yet return, but in the meantime efforts to make the most of the Open Restaurants Program represent a key component of the city’s life and well being which has had to undertake rapid adaptation to survive.

This photo essay examines some of the steps being taken to keep doors open throughout September to November of 2020. Uncertainty reigns in many businesses, even among psychics. Businesses like LaserCutz near Industry City in Brooklyn have shifted from architectural detailing to making sneeze guards, while dining establishments in the Village try to forge identities and stake out a space where customers can weather the winter.

Construction of outdoor seating areas has kept contractors busy through the pandemic. As winter approaches and the seating areas become more permanent like this West 4th Street enclosure start to display more attention to aesthetics. Photo By Justin McGown

Oleksandr Malyugin shows off one of the machines he has built in his Brooklyn fabrication shop, LaserCutZ. This is a CNC machine which can cut shapes out of plastic or wood. Photo By Justin McGown

One of Malyugin’s custom built laser cutters demonstrates runs through a metal cutting demo. Using high intensity lasers it can cut cleanly and quickly through metal, and is used to make architectural features and elements of sneeze guards. Photo By Justin McGown

Malyugin shows off a completed plexiglass guard ready to be shipped to a wholesaler. LaserCutz provides both large custom orders and standardized formats. Photo By Justin McGown

Construction continues after sunset at many Bleecker Street businesses as they rush to prepare winterized outdoor accomadations. Photo By Justin McGown

Carbone Restaurant on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village, bathed in red from outdoor heaters and their distinctive neon sign. Photo By Justin McGown

Diners are rendered indistinct behind plastic sheeting outside The Grizzly Pear on MacDougal Street. Like many eateries in the are it is in the process of upgrading its outdoor seating to work in the winter. Photo By Justin McGown

With electrical work adding considerable cost and time to outdoor seating areas under the Open Restaurants program many opt for battery operated lights. These facilities require an extra thorough cleaning after every setting, and a bottle of hand sanitizer has become by far the most popular center piece of the season. Photo By Justin McGown

A Houston Street psychic shop takes safety precautions, and a bottle of hand sanitizer joins crystal balls, tarot cards, and other divination tools. The timeline for the end of COVID-19 is unclear. Photo By Justin McGown

The loss of parking and proliferation of outdoor dining mean that on many crowded Village streets bikes have become one of the fastest ways to get around. Photo By Justin McGown





Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Life returns to the East Village

Quincy Walter May 5, 2021

Reopening for Ramadan

Hassan Abbas May 4, 2021

And the band played on

Xavier Bartaburu May 2, 2021

Queens residents mourn at Covid vigil

Annie Burky May 2, 2021

Floating for Free: COVID and the Staten Island Ferry

Trish Rooney May 2, 2021

COVID-19 has left many Black and Hispanic landlords in serious debt

Norah Hogan April 24, 2021

Village East movie theater reopens to the public

Inga Parkel April 13, 2021

Chinese adoptions halted by COVID

Inga Parkel March 24, 2021

Remote is the new workplace normal

Courtney Guarino March 24, 2021

One year of COVID-19 in New York City

Michelle Diaz March 16, 2021

COVID long haulers deal with lingering symptoms and doubt

Kaity Assaf March 5, 2021

Pandemic Weddings

Chuyan Jiang March 2, 2021

Pandemic fatigue 101

Chuyan Jiang February 28, 2021

Yankee Stadium becomes COVID-19 vaccine site for Bronx residents only

Michelle Diaz February 24, 2021

The queer community rallies behind their sacred spaces closed because of COVID-19

Inga Parkel February 23, 2021

Street vendors struggle as New Yorkers and tourists stay home

Norah Hogan February 13, 2021

Keeping the faith in COVID-19

Courtney Guarino February 3, 2021

Little Italy’s restaurants need indoor dining to survive pandemic

Michelle Diaz February 2, 2021

Stray pets find homes and love during pandemic

Inga Parkel February 1, 2021

No Actors, But the Show Goes On

James Pothen December 5, 2020

New York City, a place of refuge 

Edith Rousselot December 4, 2020

Commuting in a pandemic world

Michelle Diaz December 3, 2020

Battling food insecurities during a pandemic

Courtney Guarino December 3, 2020

Honk!: Cars earn a special spot in 2020

Luana Harumi December 3, 2020

Working out looks very different during a pandemic

Chuyan Jiang December 2, 2020

One kitchen’s transformation in the age of isolation

Isabel Beer December 2, 2020

Nursing homes are filled with sadness and loss during pandemic shut down

Inga Parkel December 1, 2020

The show goes on

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Loyal members help keep independent cinemas afloat

Courtney Guarino December 1, 2020

Musicians deal with the reality of no live shows as covid takes center stage

Paola Michelle Ortiz December 1, 2020

 Black Friday’s Aftermath

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi November 30, 2020

The Spirit of Little Haiti

Savannah Daniels October 14, 2020

Small business owners hope for future relief

Courtney Guarino October 2, 2020

Brooklyn Book Festival held virtually

Chuyan Jiang September 28, 2020

NYC Restaurant owners worry about maintaining business during winter 

Isabel Beer September 27, 2020

The pandemic is causing mental health struggles for many Latinos

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 24, 2020

Politically divided family can agree on one thing, rallies are bad during a pandemic

Michelle Diaz September 23, 2020

New Yorkers are vulnerable to mental issues due to pandemic

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 23, 2020

Healthcare professionals struggle with Trump’s decisions during pandemic

Tori Luecking September 23, 2020

Some Americans Say “Not So Fast” on Operation Warp Speed

James Pothen September 23, 2020

Trump voters unfazed by morality of Trump’s Covid response

Norah Hogan September 22, 2020

Trump rallies continue, despite the rising Covid-19 death toll

Isabel Beer September 22, 2020

Latinos weigh in on President Trump’s management of the pandemic

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 21, 2020

Fast track vaccine causes fear

Kaity Assaf September 21, 2020

It’s business as usual at McSorley’s Old Ale House

Tori Luecking September 20, 2020

Trump defiance to hold indoor rallies amidst COVID-19 sparks polarized responses 

Courtney Guarino September 20, 2020

NYC Cafes and restaurants try and survive the pandemic

Isabel Beer September 19, 2020

A typical afternoon at Shade Bar NYC

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West Village staple, Caffe Reggio, remains open for outdoor dining in the wake of coronavirus restrictions 

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Fort Greene’s Dino adds outdoor dining to keep business flowing

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