Tourism with a dent in Omicron is like a tourist starting to return

Good morning. Today is Friday. We’ll take a look at how the Omicron variant affected tourism in New York late last year and early this year. And we’ll see why Thursday is an important day for Letitia James, the state’s attorney general.

Also, you know: I’m leaving work next week. Corey Kilgannon will be here.

The highly contagious Omicron variant sent coronavirus infections skyrocketing to new New York highs in December and January. Another measure of Omicron’s impact became apparent on Thursday: This variant pulled tourism in New York City down as soon as visitors returned in significant numbers.

According to officials with NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency, arrivals from Omicron amounted to 1.7 million visitors.

That’s the difference between the forecast for 2021 it gave in October – 34.6 million arrivals – and the total of 32.9 million visitors it calculated actually arrived. NYC & Company officials assessed much of the drop to a lower-than-expected level in December, when Omicron prompted travelers to rethink their travel plans.

The total number of visitors last year was less than half of the 66.6 million arrivals in 2019, the last year before the pandemic. But that’s 47 percent more than NYC & Company reported for 2020, when New York was the epicenter in the early stages of the pandemic and officials ordered a widespread economic shutdown. to limit the spread of the virus.

Omicron also retained visitors in early January, prompting NYC & Company to reduce its projected size for 2022. The agency now projects 56.5 million travelers this year, less than 1,00. 3 million more than previously predicted.

However, Fred Dixon, president of NYC & Company, points to growing occupancy figures that show New York remains the nation’s most desirable destination. Nearly 82% of the city’s hotel rooms were filled in the week ending December 11, according to travel research firm STR. And revenue per room availability jumped nearly 500% in December, compared with the same month in 2020, according to a report to be released next week by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But once Omicron was successful, occupancy rates dropped to as low as 40% for the week ending January 15. They started to increase as Omicron degraded.

“If you want some good news, it’s tourists or tourists are coming back pretty much,” said Sean Hennessey, a professor at New York University. But the return to the office has been slow, and that has dampened expectations for a strong recovery in corporate travel.”

Hotel occupancy rates may reflect a shift in travelers’ mindsets. “People are realizing this virus is here to stay,” Dixon said, and “willing to get on with their lives.”


Strong winds are forecast and possible showers in the morning. The evenings are mostly clear, with temperatures dropping to a peak of 20 years old.

Parking next door

In effect until Monday (Washington’s Birthday).

Letitia James, the state’s attorney general, has scored a major victory in her investigation into former President Donald Trump and his company: A judge says she and her team may interrogate him and his two children.

Trump’s attorneys have charged that James has political bias and is using her investigation to help a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where she is also participating. . , which states that “this argument is not true at all.”

The decision came hours after James accepted the Democratic nomination for another term of attorney general. In an 18-minute speech, she didn’t discuss her gubernatorial campaign, but she announced in October and call back a few weeks later. (She later said she wanted to keep doing what she was doing. By dropping out of the race, she cemented Governor Kathy Hochul’s position as runner-up.)

She mentioned – but only briefly – Trump and another former official she met, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, who blamed her for his resignation. James oversaw an investigation that found that Cuomo had sexually harassed several women – claims he vehemently denied.

“Clearly the former governor would never accept any version of these events other than his own,” she said. “And to that end, he is now claiming to be a victim, shamelessly attacking anyone in his path, pushing others down to get himself up, but I will not bow. I will not break”.

She then addressed both opponents in the same sentence: “I won’t be bullied by him or Donald Trump.”

Today is Yoko Ono’s birthday. She is 89 years old.

Music historian Brigid Cohen contacted her more than a decade ago for a book about cross-culturalism during the Cold War years of the 1950s and early 1960s. “Yoko Ono replied once and only once: to an enquiry letter I sent in 2008, she responded with an overnight FedEx package containing copies of her own archives,” Cohen wrote in “Musical Migration and Royal New York,“Will be published in April. “Follow-up questions, more focused on herself and her work, were left unanswered.”

Cohen writes that she finds the lack of response reflects “a legitimate celebrity need for protective silence, particularly given Ono’s own experiences of gender and racial exploitation on the media.”

But Cohen has amassed enough material to recount Ono’s work as a New York pioneer years before The Beatles’ John Lennon came across her work — and hers. One milestone Cohen describes was a performance in 1961 at what became known as Carnegie Recital Hall, which involved the performance of “AOS – To David Tudor.” (He Composing and performing electronic music.)

“She describes it as an opera, but it doesn’t have any of the music that we usually think of it,” Cohen said in an interview this week. “The culmination was that Ono ended up doing a screaming performance. She screamed like no one else.”

Did she scream for Cohen? “Not personally,” Cohen said. “I listened to the recordings. She makes a real work of art about it. ”

Dear Diary:

Several years ago, I helped drive a truck filled with about a dozen sculptures from Omaha to a gallery in SoHo. My companion on the trip was Lee Lubbers, a sculptor and Jesuit priest at Creighton College.

His vehicle at the time was a recycled railroad car axle. He fired them in a giant Confederate Pacific Railroad furnace and then, using a giant hydraulic anvil, forged them into modern steel menhirs that weighed three-quarters of a ton and were about three feet tall. 11 feet.

We were assured twice before departing for New York that the gallery had 12-foot ceilings.

After arriving on a cold, gray afternoon, we unload the first of the sculptures and attempt to erect it, only to discover the gallery’s 12-foot-long ceiling appears to have been shrunk to about 11 feet.

We went to a nearby cafe to discuss our coffee options. There was only one other person, a woman, there, and it was clear that she had not yet been served. She sat at a small table, unable to seem to attract the attention of the man serving us.

After continuing to ignore her for a while, he finally looked at her.

“So what’s wrong with you?” he said in an annoyed voice.

“I’m not feeling well,” the woman replied.

“When you’re not feeling well,” he said after a pause, “you go to the doctor, not the deli.”

“I just got from the doctor,” she said.

“What did the doctor say?”

“He said to go down to the snack shop and get himself a cup of tea.”

– Michael M. Dorcy

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and Read more Metropolitan Diary here.

On Wednesday, we miscounted the years that have passed since the Sandy Hook massacre. It’s been nine years, not 11 – JB

PS This is for today Small crosswords and Spell Bee. You can find all our quizzes here.

Melissa Guerrero, Sadiba Hasan, Olivia Parker and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can contact the team at

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