As New York City comes back to life this year, we will be taking a look at key statistics to see how well the city is doing in its recovery. Today, we examined data from the Times Square Alliance's automated counting system, which acts as a de facto indicator of the health of the tourism sector, counts pedestrians at various corners in the area:
You can see that the year started off well, with 303,338 pedestrians counted on average each day in January, slightly higher than in the previous three years. February was even better, with 331,026 daily pedestrians counted.
But then the COVID-19 collapse occurred.
In March, there were only 169,559 daily pedestrians counted, and April bottomed out with just 33,320 daily pedestrians counted, likely the lowest number Times Square saw since it was constructed.
After April, a slow recovery began, with September seeing 105,852 daily pedestrians counted, but the numbers have barely budged since then, with December seeing 105,030, just a third of the 342,074 seen per day during December the previous year.
So, while a recovery has begun, it has largely plateaued, and will probably remain that way until vaccine distribution reaches enough people for commuters and tourists to return to the Crossroads of the World.
In November, the city's tourism arm, NYC & Company, released a report saying that the city would likely only reach pre-pandemic levels of visitors—66.6 million visitors to the city in 2019—by 2024.
If there are other recovery data sources you'd like us to examine, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.