Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New York City is suffering its worst year in decades. The years to come, partly as a result, could be some of its very best.

The big picture: New York, like San Francisco, entered 2020 with one overarching problem: It was far too expensive, as a place to live and work. The pandemic has fixed that problem, with both commercial and residential rents finally coming back into the realm of (relative) affordability.

By the numbers: New York has suffered more than 23,000 deaths from COVID-19, and its economic activity is projected to plunge by an astonishing 12.9% this year — a much bigger contraction than the expected national decline of 4.9%.

  • Residential rents are already down about 6%, and no one thinks they've bottomed out yet, as families with children leave the metropolis for the extra space and fresh air of the suburbs.
  • Commercial rents are being hit even harder, with Moody's projecting a 21% decline this year.
  • Big business is warning of "widespread anxiety" in the city, along with "deteriorating conditions in commercial districts."

How it works: Cities always drive economic growth. They're machines for creativity, collaboration, and serendipity. The destruction caused by a pandemic helps to clear the way for a future resurgence.

  • Remote work rests on institutional know-how built up through physical proximity: Established and experienced tend to find it relatively easy, while entry-level employees find it much harder.
  • The performing arts, in particular — a longtime strength of New York — require individuals to work closely together. But that's hard when the work pays badly and rents are prohibitive.

The people leaving New York are disproportionately older, richer, more established professionals — people who need the city less.

  • With property taxes still rising, most residential landlords will not be able to keep their properties empty while waiting for rents to rebound. So they will rent them out at much lower market-clearing rates, to less wealthy individuals who require less space per person.
  • The math: If residential space stays constant but the number of square feet per person goes down, New York's population will end up rising, rather than falling.
  • Lower rents also mean higher disposable incomes, to be spent at new local establishments that will rise where old ones were felled by the pandemic. The newer businesses will also be much less likely to cater to the rich elites.

The catch: The main driver of both new business formation and population growth in New York has historically been international immigration. So long as immigration remains suppressed, New York will suffer.

  • What they're saying: "New York City has a dynamic population, with several hundred thousand people coming and going each year. This churn has long characterized the city," says a New York City government report. "This vibrancy is one aspect of what makes New York City’s population extraordinary and different from most other places in the nation and, perhaps, the world."

The bottom line: Insofar as COVID-19 increases the churn of New York City's population, that will only help it over the long term.

Go deeper

NYC schools will change admission requirements to address segregation

Bill De Blasio. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York City will change admission requirements in middle and high schools to address segregation issues which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Friday.

Why it matters: New York has one of the most segregated school systems, with students of color — particularly Black and Latino — underrepresented in selective schools.

The urban bathroom shortage worsens

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With libraries, public parks, and other municipal facilities shutting their restrooms because of COVID-19 — and many retail stores doing the same — there's increasingly no place to "go" for people walking about town.

Why it matters: As inconvenient as the toilet shortage may be for the average person, it's much, much worse for homeless people, not to mention delivery workers, mail carriers and taxi and ride-hail drivers.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.