With 70 percent of New Yorkers vaccinated, and the mask mandate lifted just a couple of weeks ago, social media has been filled with videos of packed subway stations, bar hopping, and resumed brunch hours. It has been proclaimed, even on TikTok, that NYC is back. But this is all to the disdain of native NYC residents who claim that the city was never dead.
TikTok is known for having trends that pervade the platform. Some are inherently positive, and some are quite the opposite. In this case, there is no ill-will, but it is a matter of accuracy for New Yorkers. If NYC was never dead, take it from them; and if TikTok says NYC is back, let’s examine what has in fact changed.
NYC was never dead, but there were dark times in the Empire State
NYC was the epicenter of the pandemic. The virus tragically took 30,386 lives.
While hundreds of thousands of people escaped the pandemic-riddled city back to their hometowns, NYC residents were left at the hands of the virus. Empty streets, deserted subway stations, and an empty Times Square were just the tip of the iceberg.
Businesses that have been there for decades closed down for good, 631,000 jobs were lost, and while people worried about tourism, residents couldn’t afford to pay for rent or food. Images of stuffed hospitals, and panicked staff trying to find room for the piling dead bodies flooded the local news. Scared citizens were left to watch from their homes.
After relentless months of hardship and collected fear, the city that never sleeps took a much-deserved rest, and while others labeled it dead, New Yorkers proved what truly made the city, not the crowded streets, and Broadway shows, but the people. During hard times, New Yorkers stayed strong, and took care of one another.
“Nature is healing,” TikTok says NYC is back
A TikTok video showing the city slowly returning to normal, and proving critics wrong who called the city “dead forever,” had hundreds of comments from New Yorkers who voiced how resilient the city truly is.
“Whoever said it was dead must not have been born here. The city always bounces back. We’re resilient & strong. Love my city,” reads one comment.
The reality of the city isn’t meant to be funny
The app has also been flooded with NYC vlogs, especially from out of state residents who are slowly moving back, who claim the city is back by showing shenanigans of the city, depicting it as a zoo.
Although it’s all meant for comical purposes, native New Yorkers have shown disapproval of these videos, upset that real communities are put into a negative light by people who weren’t here during tough times.
In a TikTok video from dutchdeccc, he reacts to these type of videos, criticizing them for creating a false narrative of the city. As well as being insensitive to people’s livelihoods.
“This whole making fun of the city trend..all of the quirky New York things, none of it is quirky or funny. Like seeing a dead body or talking about a shooting ‘LOL shooting on my block so funny,’ what? Someone lost their life, somebody’s family is grieving, someone’s community is grieving. New York is not a Disney World ride, that’s a real person, and this is a real place,” he says.
He then finishes off the video by challenging people who make these kinds of vlogs to actually think about the real issues within the neighborhoods they inhabit. And how they’re directly causing some of these issues (kicking people out of their neighborhoods, causing higher rent, and cost of living for other New Yorkers…).
He urges them to do better, and to simply think before they post.
The video received thousands of comments sharing the same thoughts as him, and asking for sensitivity for communities who’ve gone through a lot, especially in the last year.