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  • Michael Shapot, Esq.

New York City - Stage 2

I'm excited to be back home. It feels familiar, and comfortable, but not exactly what I remember.



There are way fewer pedestrians than I'm accustomed to. Are my neighbors at their weekend homes or continuing to shelter in? It's hard to know.

Almost everyone wears a mask. And keeps their distance. And is courteous.

There is way less vehicular traffic than normal, and hardly any yellow taxis or Uber / Lyfts.

Boarded up stores are somewhat concerning, but less so than I imagined. In the past week, I've seen some of the boarded up stores actually reopen, which is a most welcome sign.

Compared to early March, the streets are busy. But early March was Crazy Quiet.


... has a clean, lemony scent. Both the cars and the stations. Can you believe it? But don't worry and rest assured, I have no intention of ever eating off the subway floor ....

There were only a handful of passengers in the subway cars when I traveled, and almost no one on the platforms. It was my most pleasant subway experience - ever!

There are markings on the subway platforms encouraging social distancing.

Is this really the NYC subway I used to know? Let's see what happens when people return to work en mass.


New showing protocols and open houses? This is not anything familiar. It's a new era in residential real estate.

Now that NYC has entered Phase 2, at least buyers can see unoccupied listings in person. We've seen a noticeable surge of buyer interest, inquiries and serious activity in the few days since the start of Phase 2, including an accepted offer on a just listed property.

But there are likely to be some headwinds: New Yorkers’ growing interest in the suburbs, the timing of the reopening to coincide with the slower, summer months, and the fact that many Manhattanites are still sheltering outside the City. There's certainly a risk that the initial surge of activity will fade.

Overall, much what I love about NYC has remained the same: its attitude, grit and resilience. We recovered after 9/11, after the financial crisis and Hurricane Sandy, and NYC will come back stronger than ever yet again. I love the City's diversity and the feel of its different neighborhoods. I love the work ethic, heart and strength of shopkeepers, grocery store workers, sanitation and transit workers, delivery men, building workers and everyone else who keep our city operational, as well as our retirees and entrepreneurs. I have never been more proud of my City and my neighbors.

A few of the new things about the City seem foreign, including its lackluster energy, and the absence of culture (theater, lectures, music, museums, performances, ball games, art, restaurants, shopping, US OPEN Tennis), that will continue to be on “pause” until a new normal establishes itself. It's coming, I know, and I can hardly wait!

Until then, stay safe. Enjoy the peace and quiet, and the delicious scent of the subway. Continue practicing social distancing. Wear a mask. And remain healthy.

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