On March 10, 2022, newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams released Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery.
This strategy, which sounds like it comes straight out of The Restoration Economy and RECONOMICS, outlines the mayor’s vision for the city’s economic recovery and the future of the city’s economy…all built on equity and inclusivity.The COVID-19 global pandemic devastated the city’s economy, but the mayor feels that New York City is now on the cusp of an economic resurgence, and his plan seizes on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate the city’s economy in the short and long terms.
The blueprint specifically aims to accelerate the return to pre-pandemic employment levels, while simultaneously laying the foundation for the city’s economic future — addressing historic injustices and reimagining outdated ways of doing business.
“New York City’s recovery cannot and will not be about going back to the way things were — we are going to rebuild, renew, and reinvent our city and our economy for today, tomorrow, and generations to come,” said Adams.
“This is more than a to-do list: It is a complete reset with more than 70 concrete actions we will take to tear down the barriers to progress and build up a strong, resilient city with opportunity for everyone. I want all New Yorkers to know that your city is looking out for you and planning for your future, so New York can be a city we are all proud to call home,” he added.
City officials say the plan to accelerate the city’s recovery and build a more resilient economy rests on five key pillars:
- Restarting our city’s economic engines and reactivating the public realm;
- Supporting small businesses, entrepreneurship, and a more equitable economy;
- Driving inclusive sector growth and building a future-focused economy;
- Connecting New Yorkers to quality jobs and in-demand skills; and
- Planning and building for inclusive growth now and in the future.
“Our state’s economy has been battered over these last two years, but there is no doubt New York’s best days lie ahead,” said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul.
“We will seize this moment to do what New Yorkers always have done: To stay strong and work together to find new, innovative paths to growth that build upon our strengths. My administration has begun this work by advancing new investments that include a renewed commitment to workforce development, the largest state-sponsored tourism package in the country, and a historic $500 million commitment to expanding the offshore wind industry in New York State. This work sets a strong foundation, but we can and will do much more. Mayor Adams and I are committed to working together and with the private sector to plan for a future that uplifts us all. The New New York Panel is a demonstration of our unwavering resolve. Let’s get to work,” Hochul continued.
While this moment in the city’s post-COVID economic recovery holds great potential, significant challenges continue to face parts of the city. More than 26,000 businesses have closed, while many offices remain shuttered; unemployment among Black New Yorkers remains more than three times the national average at 15 percent; and tourism remains far below pre-pandemic levels, depriving the city of much-needed economic activity.
“Our mission is to provide opportunity to every New Yorker,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “We have weathered considerable struggle and loss over the last two years. But there has never been a more urgent time for New York to serve as a model for equitable recovery, and the investments and initiatives in this blueprint will accelerate our city’s return, help us return to pre-pandemic employment levels more quickly, and build our city back more inclusively than ever.”
Tackling these challenges will require a comprehensive, collaborative effort bringing together the business community, labor unions, neighborhood advocates, faith leaders, educators, and New Yorkers across the five boroughs. Mayor Adams’ blueprint represents the first stage of that effort.
Among the strategies outlined in the blueprint are more than 70 concrete actions that will help realize the mayor’s goal of rebuilding, renewing, and reimagining the city’s economy.
The administration says it will:
- Invest in Hunts Point infrastructure, community priorities, and the redevelopment of the Hunts Point Produce Market, a vital resource in New York City’s food supply system that supplies 25 percent of the city’s fresh produce;
- Assemble a “New New York” blue-ribbon panel, convened by Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, to re-envision business districts, invest in the workforce, and stimulate economic growth by engaging some of the most visionary leaders in business, labor, academia, nonprofit, and philanthropy;
- Launch the NYC Strategy for Equity and Economic Development (SEED) Fund, a new equitable capital planning framework to invest city resources into neighborhood needs in ways that address historic disinvestment, immediate public health and safety issues, and growing climate risks, while creating jobs and spurring economic growth;
- Provide small businesses much-needed relief — cutting opening times in half, suspending the city’s 25 percent surcharge on liquor licenses, streamlining inspections, reforming licensing requirements, providing back-office support and free tax preparation, improving language access, and helping small businesses expand their digital footprints;
- Launch the Small Business Opportunity Fund to meet the financing needs of historically underserved local businesses and entrepreneurs, addressing critical gaps in access to capital;
- Strengthening our commercial corridors across the five boroughs by investing in small Business Improvement Districts, merchant associations, and public realm improvements;
- Reform and expand the city’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) program to increase the number and size of city contracts going to M/WBE firms, help these firms grow, and support M/WBEs that have not sufficiently benefited from this program;
- Tackle public safety and quality-of-life concerns in commercial corridors and launch a Public Realm Working Group to execute a holistic strategy of coordinated initiatives and programs in our public spaces;
- Expand the city’s tourism marketing campaign to show the world that New York City is open, vibrant, and ready to welcome visitors again;
- Double down on growing the life sciences industry, with a focus on expanding into new sub-industries and building the talent pipeline of local New Yorkers;
- Jumpstart the local, green economy and affirm New York as a global leader in just solutions to the climate crisis with the creation of a new, state-of-the-art education and research institution on Governors Island, which will work to identify equitable urban climate solutions and drive growth of accessible green jobs;
- Build an equitable cannabis industry from the ground up, by offering financial support and technical assistance to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses and launching a broad-based community engagement effort to make New Yorkers aware of opportunities to participate in the industry;
- Protect and strengthen New York City’s creative economy with the creation of a new, one-of-a-kind cultural district on Governors Island and a “Culture at Risk” response team to protect New York City’s creative businesses and neighborhood institutions;
- Establish New York City as a hub for digital game development by launching a game development curriculum at The City University of New York to train New Yorkers for opportunities in this field and fostering growth of independent and established gaming communities;
- Leverage zoning and land use tools to foster innovation and support emerging industries, expand access to high-quality, low-cost housing options in neighborhoods across the city, and facilitate green projects;
- Protect workers’ rights by raising and enforcing labor standards for app-based delivery workers and adding new city resources focused on protecting the rights of home care aides, nannies, house cleaners, and other domestic and care workers; and
- Expand financial empowerment services, bringing financial counseling to Workforce1 Centers and launching a mobile unit to offer free tax preparation, financial counseling, benefits enrollment, job training supports, tenant protection services, and other critical resources in neighborhoods across the city.
The economic recovery blueprint arrives as the city enters a new phase in its COVID-19 response, beginning withMayor Adams’ decision last week to suspend Key to NYC and remove mask mandates for K-12 public school students. The blueprint also follows the release of Mayor Adams’Subway Safety Plan last month and his Blueprint to End Gun Violence in January.
Local leaders voiced their praise for the blueprint:
- “Good design of the public realm is critical to New York City’s recovery and resilience, enhancing our health and wellbeing by providing welcoming spaces for social gathering, recreation, and cultural programming,” said Keri Butler, Executive Director, Public Design Commission. “We look forward to collaborating with Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, and our city agency colleagues on streamlining the capital process to bring innovative and efficient design to public spaces for all New Yorkers.”
- “New York City landmarks and historic neighborhoods help make the city a global destination — attracting residents, tourists, and businesses — and they play a vital role in the dynamism of the city,” said Sarah Carroll, chair, Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). “We applaud Mayor Adams for this economic recovery blueprint. To help advance the plan’s important goals, LPC will leverage technology to streamline its permitting processes to make it easier for residents, businesses, and cultural institutions to thrive in their historic buildings. We look forward to working with the mayor and Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer to help the city come back stronger than ever.”
- “Governors Island served as an invaluable resource for New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, much like many of our city’s great public places,” said Clare Newman, president and CEO, Trust for Governors Island. “As the city accelerates its restart, Governors Island will play an even greater role in its recovery, by advancing equitable climate solutions and matching New Yorkers with green job opportunities through the Center for Climate Solutions, and by bringing accessible and dynamic arts and cultural experiences to New Yorkers through the launch of Governors Island Arts. I applaud the city’s ambitious vision to advance our recovery and look forward to working with Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, partner institutions, and community stakeholders, in continuing our work to make Governors Island a vibrant resource for all New Yorkers.”
- “There is no recovery for New York City without culture,” said Sheelah A. Feinberg, deputy commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs. “Our city’s cultural organizations are a magnet for visitors from around the world, and our artists and cultural workers bring creative energy and social vibrancy to neighborhoods in every corner of the five boroughs. We applaud Mayor Adams’ blueprint for an economic recovery that centers the essential role of culture, and we can’t wait to work with our partners throughout the sector to ‘Get Stuff Done.’”
- “As New York City restarts its economy, the mayor’s Blueprint for Economic Recovery offers a strong vision to help meet the challenges that lie ahead,” said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. “As we recover, the blueprint will accelerate the city’s economic engine now and into the future.”
- “The Adams economic blueprint is a clear, common-sense, and creative path to revitalize and grow our city’s greatest asset — our public realm — bring infrastructure equity to all New Yorkers, and build a resilient and forward-facing economy, workforce, and city,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Armed with this roadmap, there is no better time to be a New Yorker.”
- “This plan sets forth a hopeful path to support the resiliency and ingenuity in every person,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “From our health care sector to green jobs, this plan is about an economic recovery that supports every family, every child, and every New Yorker. There is so much to do, from high unemployment to pay equity across the city, and I look forward to working with all of our partners to make our city ever stronger and more equitable.”
- “The Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery is a massive step forward in the right direction for our city,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “Not only are we casting a vision for a more prosperous city, but we’re outlining the action steps to restart our economy in an equitable, strategic, and future-focused way. By rolling up our sleeves and working together, we will rebuild, renew, and reinvent the economic recovery of our city.”
- “Our housing needs and our city’s economy are closely tied together,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “Today’s announcement is an important step in building a stronger, more equitable New York, which will help us tackle our critical housing shortage. I’m excited to work with the team as we implement these vital programs and policies.”
- “New York City is at the dawn of a new chapter in our history,” said Chief Efficiency Officer Melanie La Rocca. “I’m thankful to Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer for their clear vision to revitalize, reimage, and remake our city in a more efficient and effective way.”
- “Under Mayor Adams’ administration, New York City is leveraging technology daily to bridge the longstanding digital divide and create opportunities to expand and support the city’s workforce,” said Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser. “This economic blueprint is a key component to our city’s recovery and represents a fresh vision that will usher our city into a new generation of prosperity and innovation. I thank Mayor Adams for his leadership and tireless commitment to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers.”
- “I applaud Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer for taking these bold steps to drive our economic recovery forward with a plan centered on equity and economic mobility as well as public-private partnership,” said Andrew Kimball, president and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). “This blueprint will make New York stronger and more resilient than ever, and we at NYCEDC are proud to work with our partners in the private sector, in government, and in communities across the city to execute on its vision.”
- “We know that we owe a great deal to the people who powered this city through the pandemic — the frontline workers, the small business owners, and the community nonprofits,” said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “The exciting initiatives announced today will provide the critical support they need to succeed and thrive. Today, we are putting equity at the forefront of economic development, because we want to make sure that all New Yorkers can share in our prosperity.”
- “As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to take every possible step to jumpstart our local economy,” said Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. “With this blueprint, we have a strategy that will allow us to deliver equitable growth across all five boroughs. This will include new housing, more accessible jobs, and greener, more resilient neighborhoods. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Adams in support of this plan to deliver a better, brighter, and fairer future for all New Yorkers.”
- “New York City’s economic recovery will not only be strong; it will be equitable,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Our mission is to protect consumers and workers while supporting businesses, and this economic recovery blueprint succeeds in doing all three. Thanks to Mayor Adams, we are connecting New Yorkers to sustaining jobs by uplifting our paid care and delivery workforce, expanding ‘NYC Free Tax Prep’ and one-on-one financial counseling, and more. Together, we are building a city where workers, consumers, and businesses alike can thrive.”
- “Arts, entertainment, and nightlife are the heart and soul of New York City. They are the pulse that sustains the most passionate, innovative creators of our time, drawing people from around the world,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “Strengthening these cultural and creative sectors is at the forefront of Mayor Adams’ economic recovery plan, because New York City’s future depends on them.”
- “Mayor Adams’ plan will greatly accelerate our city’s recovery by creating job opportunities for New Yorkers through inclusive and equitable growth,” said Chris Neale, acting director, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “The plan will also place New Yorkers first by investing in employer-informed training and bridge programs, expanding financial empowerment services and other essential supports, and improving the quality of jobs in low-wage sectors — which will consequently help New Yorkers connect to good jobs with family-sustaining wages.”
- “We applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for their steadfast commitment to tourism,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO, NYC & Company. “As an industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and impacts businesses big and small, tourism is vital to the city’s economic recovery efforts. We look forward to doing all we can to support New York City’s comeback and ensure we remain the world’s most welcoming and aspirational destination.”
- “Mayor Adams has made New York City’s economic recovery a linchpin of his policy agenda,” said Maggie Austin, senior advisor to the mayor; and director, Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. “This vision recognizes a fundamental truth: M/WBEs are critical to the city’s economic recovery and long-term well-being. This renewed investment in the continued growth of the city’s M/WBE program is timely and necessary. I commend Mayor Adams for sharing our commitment to creating a more equitable New York City that embraces its diversity and supports its many M/WBEs and the communities they benefit.”
- “For over 125 years, New York City’s public libraries have supported and strengthened the city’s workforce and overall economic health,” said Linda E. Johnson, president, Brooklyn Public Library; Tony W. Marx, president, New York Public Library; and Dennis M. Walcott, president, Queens Public Library. “As the city plans its next chapter and works towards continued recovery from the pandemic, we are proud to be a critical partner, offering free services and resources for small businesses, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs; strengthening the tech pipeline; and creating equitable access to culture, inspiring spaces, and other important community amenities. We look forward to working with Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, and the administration to continue to best meet the needs of our communities.”
Featured photo courtesy of the Office of Mayor Adams.