On a recent walk through NoMad – up Fifth Avenue, west on 29th Street, up 6th Avenue, east on 30th Street, and so on – something was amiss. Over the past several months, on similarly oriented routes through the neighborhood, there was a deadness, a dryness, a depressing lack of life… every storefront was either boarded up or had a U-Haul truck on the curb, the contents of the store being emptied into it, another retail flagship fallen victim to the economic fallout of COVID-19.

This time, though, there was a difference, a liveliness – activity, to say the least. As I passed Blackseed Bagel, patrons sat out front enjoying sandwiches (yes – they’re open again!). Groups of people filled the al fresco dining areas at neighborhood favorites like Eataly Caffe, La Pecora Bianca and CASA. A line of individuals spaced six-feet apart extended around the corner of 29th and 5th, waiting to shop at a local sample sale. The city seemed abustle and I sighed of relief, thinking that the city and the market might just be waking up. I also noticed some empty lots, likely with upcoming commercial and residential spaces – stay tuned for insider details!