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  • In September 2001...

  • ...New York City suffered a tragedy that rocked the world

  • Twenty years later it's been devastated by covid-19

  • Yesterday was the deadliest day in New York...

  • ...with more than 700 coronavirus deaths

  • The crisis in New York reaching a critical mass

  • After 9/11 the city came back stronger

  • What lessons can be learned from this revival...

  • ...to help New York recover from covid-19?

  • I'm Jon Fasman...

  • ...The Economist's US digital editor...

  • ...and I'm also a New Yorker

  • In September 2001 I lived in Brooklyn

  • From this side of the river you get a perfect view of the financial district...

  • ...where the twin towers once stood

  • The towers were right there where Freedom Tower is now...

  • ...where that gap is now

  • The 11th of September that year started off as a beautiful day

  • But when I arrived on the east side of Manhattan...

  • ...on my way to work, like many others, I saw a plane flying screamingly low

  • Shortly after I reached my office, the first plane hit

  • On that day, around 3,000 New Yorkers were killed

  • Many of the bodies were never recovered

  • Many of the scars will never heal

  • One of the many businesses hit hard by the tragedy was O'Hara's Irish pub

  • One of the closest bars to the twin towers

  • It's been here since 1983

  • Co-owner Mike started working here not long after it opened

  • When O'Hara's was a popular happy-hour destination...

  • ...for local office workers...

  • ...including many that worked in the World Trade Centre

  • There were about six of us in here when the first tower collapsed

  • In an instant this place was covered in dust and debris

  • It was like a snowstorm at night it was pitch black

  • And what was it like in the days that followed?

  • It was pretty miserable

  • You were devastated that your business was pretty much gone

  • And then it was tough finding out constantly that...

  • ...guys you knew were killed

  • On top of the emotional and human toll...

  • ...the physical damage was immense

  • O'Haras is here

  • One block south from the World Trade Centre

  • After the attacks, buildings all over this area were either destroyed...

  • ...or severely damaged

  • This area housed 30% of Lower Manhattan's office space

  • 100,000 workers were temporarily displaced

  • The city was given $20bn of federal funding...

  • ...to rebuild Lower Manhattan

  • And two months after the attacks a new city administration...

  • ...headed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was elected into office

  • New Yorkers have always made the sacrifices necessary...

  • ...to achieve a better tomorrow

  • And there will be a better tomorrow

  • Dan Doctoroff was deputy mayor for economic development

  • We have to take this opportunity...

  • ...and turn it into something that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do

  • The team didn't want to just re-build the 16-acre plot of land...

  • ...that had been destroyed...

  • ...but re-develop the whole city

  • It marked the start of a new era of huge municipal ambition

  • I've come to meet Dan...

  • ...at the jewel in the crown of New York's re-development programme...

  • ...Hudson Yards

  • What we found was New Yorkers wanted to make the city...

  • ...greater than ever

  • They wanted to rebuild...

  • ...and it was that attitude that when Mike Bloomberg and I and others...

  • ...came into City Hall, I think we drove to try and transform New York

  • Built on the west side of Manhattan...

  • ...on top of a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains...

  • ...Hudson Yards is a 28-acre mixed-use development of shops...

  • ...homes and businesses

  • So this right here is the headquarters...

  • ...Warner Media now, KKR, Wells Fargo in New York

  • ...as you go further down...

  • ...it's a headquarters for BlackRock and Facebook in the next building...

  • ...and then Pfizer in the building after that

  • And there have been literally, I think, maybe 70 or 80 buildings...

  • ...built in this area over the last 15 years

  • This right here is a building I'm particularly proud of, The Shed...

  • The Times of London called it the coolest building in the world...

  • ...and it's almost like a transformer

  • So what was here before...

  • Nothing, it was an empty, open rail yard

  • Transforming a derelict no man's land...

  • ...into a glossy new neighbourhood wasn't cheap

  • Hudson Yards cost $25bn

  • To fund it Dan and the team had to get creative

  • We got money to rebuild lower Manhattan...

  • ...but nothing for the rest of the city

  • The city was facing a massive budget crisis, I mean huge

  • And so we created the largest tax increment financing district ever...

  • ...in the United States

  • ...basically going to bondholders and saying, trust us, if you build it...

  • ...they will come and they did...

  • ...and you can see the results

  • There's been a massive amount of buildings built...

  • ...which will generate the city an enormous profit into the future

  • But as the most expensive private property development...

  • ...in American history...

  • ...critics have accused Hudson Yards...

  • ...of catering to a global elite rather than the local community

  • What do you think you got wrong?

  • You know, I think the biggest thing was the city became less affordable...

  • ...more people came to this city than we accommodated...

  • ...in terms of housing production

  • That's still the biggest problem New York has today

  • From 2010 to 2019, for every five new jobs created in New York...

  • ...only one new unit of housing was built

  • Prices skyrocketed

  • You'd need to be a millionaire...

  • ...to buy a one-bed apartment in Hudson Yards today...

  • ...yet close to one in five people in the city live in poverty

  • This inequality was laid bare during the pandemic

  • Poorer communities suffered much higher covid-19 deaths...

  • ...than their wealthier neighbours

  • And so we need a new model of inclusive growth...

  • ...that actually responds to the inequities that we certainly...

  • ...knew were here before covid, but are even that much more evident

  • But stimulating growth...

  • ...is more of a challenge today than it was after 9/11

  • In the past year the city has received $14bn from the federal government...

  • ...which is less than what it received after the terror attacks

  • Yet more than double the amount of jobs have been lost

  • Over by Ground Zero, businesses like O'Hara's have been hit hard

  • So what's it been like over the past year or so...

  • ...since the pandemic for you guys?

  • Yeah, this one was a little tough...

  • It wasn't just our little area that was destroyed...

  • ...the whole world that was down

  • What about government support during the pandemic?

  • Do you think there's been enough...

  • ...do you wish the government had done something else?

  • I'm sorry what?

  • What about government support?

  • I'm sorry? Government support, truthfully, we really haven't had...

  • ...anything out of that

  • At the start of the pandemic...

  • ...the federal government launched a $944bn fund...

  • ...for small businesses: the Paycheck Protection Program

  • But initially, only 12% of eligible businesses in New York City...

  • ...actually received it

  • Many more have since...

  • ...but those who got the loan didn't always see the benefits

  • You got the PPP loan to pay your employees

  • But nobody was open...

  • ...so it just kept people off of unemployment...

  • ...which they would have been getting...

  • ...with the extra bonus the same money anyway

  • So it didn't help anybody in that respect

  • And then they came out with the big restaurant relief fund

  • You know, most people didn't get anything

  • Since the start of the pandemic...

  • ...more than 3,000 small businesses in New York City...

  • ...have been forced to close their doors for good

  • One area that has been especially hard hit is Chinatown

  • ...a neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan...

  • ...where nearly a quarter of residents live below the poverty line

  • It's an area that is often overlooked in times of crisis

  • After 9/11, roadblocks and subway closures...

  • ...made it impossible to access Chinatown

  • For weeks, 75% of the workforce was out of a job

  • But at the time, loans were only given to those closer to Ground Zero

  • And many here waited months before receiving aid

  • Stop helping the rich

  • You know with the money going to the buildings...

  • ...and the businesses and all

  • And stop robbing us, the poor

  • During the pandemic...

  • ...the city did not learn from these post-9/11 failures

  • Parts of Chinatown were again left out of a loan programme...

  • ...for small businesses...

  • ...due to its shared ZIP code with more affluent neighbourhoods

  • Support didn't come until July 2021...

  • ...well over a year into the pandemic

  • But there's another challenge facing Chinatown

  • Since the pandemic began an age-old problem has reared its ugly head...

  • ...anti-Asian hate crime

  • In 2019, there was one case

  • In the first half of this year, there have been 102

  • Wellington Chen is the head of the Chinatown Partnership

  • A non-profit that supports businesses and the local community

  • And he's had first-hand experience of this rise in anti-Asian racism

  • Just a couple of months ago...

  • ...about straight down the block at the end of this block

  • ...a Chinese young man was walking home

  • And I see this stranger way in the back come running up to him...

  • ...and he plunged an eight-inch butcher knife straight into his back

  • Today, Wellington is going shop to shop...

  • ...handing out whistles to Asian-Americans...

  • ...so they can alert others if they are attacked

  • We consulted crisis-management expert...

  • ...and they said to us every time after a crisis...

  • ...they need to find who's the devil...

  • ...and they need to find a scapegoat to blame

  • And unfortunately, this time it's us with the Asian faces

  • After 9/11, it was Muslim-Americans who suffered

  • Across America, recorded anti-Muslim hate crimes increased from 28 in 2000...

  • ...to 481 the year of the twin towers attacks

  • They started talking about terrorism and so on...

  • ...and they started looking at me as if I was the one that did it

  • Back then, the NYPD launched mass surveillance programmes...

  • ...targeting Muslims...

  • ...often without proof of wrongdoing...

  • ...a practice that has since been widely condemned

  • This time, however, the NYPD has created a task-force...

  • ...dedicated to stopping anti-Asian hate crimes

  • But many in the local community still feel unsafe

  • It's causing a vicious cycle because the more anxiety you create...

  • ...the less chance of people wanting to come out...

  • ...and it cause the business additional hardship

  • So we now have a second virus that we have no vaccine for

  • To help communities survive tough times...

  • ...it's clear affordable housing, support for small business...

  • ...and effective policing are all essential...

  • ...but that takes money

  • And it's here that the city faces another challenge

  • The outpouring of community after 9/11 kept people in New York

  • But this time many of the city's wealthiest residents have left

  • By February 2021, a year after the pandemic started...

  • ...almost half the residents in New York's business hubs...

  • ...had moved away

  • Just a 5% loss of New Yorkers making six figures...

  • ...would result in an annual loss of $933m in tax revenue...

  • ...roughly the amount allocated for the city's health department

  • New York has some huge challenges ahead

  • And while some post-9/11 re-development was a success...

  • ...the city needs to learn lessons from what its leaders got wrong

  • In November 2021...

  • ...New Yorkers go to the polls to elect the next mayor

  • The likely winner will be the Democratic candidate, Eric Adams

  • An ex-cop, he has vowed to reform the police department...

  • ...and help fight crimes against the Asian community

  • I'm not new to this fight

  • I'm not new to standing up on behalf of people

  • It doesn't matter of the ethnicity, this is still our city

  • He wants to expand local tax credits for low-income families...

  • ...invest in underperforming schools...

  • ...and improve public housing...

  • ...and he has a pandemic aid relief plan...

  • ...that aims to cut the red tape stopping people getting money today

  • But funding is going to remain a challenge

  • Mayor Adams, assuming he gets elected...

  • ...is going to have to be really creative in coming up with resources...

  • ...to make the kinds of investments...

  • ...that give people confidence in the future of the city

  • What lessons did you learn from 9/11...

  • ...that you think would apply to Mayor Adams's first year in office?

  • Leadership really matters

  • Having a vision that inspires people really matters...