New York City is known for its milestones, as an ever-expanding metropolis that builds both outward and upward with architecture renowned worldwide. But even with all the historical feats that lay behind the Big Apple, the citywide reopening could well be one of its grandest.
In Lower Manhattan, the Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID) is preparing to welcome residents and visitors alike back to the area now that social distancing rules and relaxations are being relaxed to an almost nonexistent degree, at least for vaccinated New Yorkers.
District president and CEO Ellen Baer joined the Chief Marketing Officer at the Color Factory Alison Piepmeyer and Houseman restaurant owner Ned Baldwin at the Spring Street Park on Tuesday afternoon where they unveiled new community events coming to the neighborhood.
“Welcome back everybody, we are so excited to welcome back the city,” Baer said with a joyous smile.
According to Baer, the Hudson Square BID has been working tirelessly for months to organize a host of activities for New Yorkers to enjoy when it came time for the sun to come out and the masks to come off, with some even being available to relish in right now.
One of the projects already in operation is the draw cart, a portable art station that allows individuals to sit in the park and draw on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They have also created open street areas so guests can remain socially distanced if desired. Perhaps most significantly of all is their Reconnect Series, a program that will introduce open-air art, singers, dancers, and other live outdoor performances to help bring back culture to Hudson Square.
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses that employ an interactive experience like the Color Factory — an experimental art exhibit — have been shuttered. But now that the city is reopening, the 251 Spring St. location can welcome back patrons.
“Color Factory had to completely close down for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic—it was a really rough time for us. But what I am really proud of is that our team took that six months to refocus on cleanliness. We have UV lights that clean the air, we have foggers that disinfect the surfaces and the air, we hired a team that will come in and clean the ball pit on a daily basis,” Piepmeyer explained.
Although the latest CDC mask guidelines state that those vaccinated may now remove their masks, coming on the other side of a deadly pandemic remains a contentious topic. Businesses will be afforded the opportunity to decide if they will allow those inside without masks.
“It is honestly tricky because the city guidelines don’t always parse with what our customers comfort levels are, so we have to find a middle ground. The staff is wearing masks all the time, the customers are wearing masks inside when they are walking around the restaurant,” Baldwin said. “It is really important to us that our customers feel comfortable, that is really the bottom line.”
This is an exciting time for those at the Hudson BID and residents as they are at long last able to leave their homes and explore the city once more.
“We are ready for you, and ready we are,” Baer said.