N.Y. Today: Resilience and Struggles as Queens Revives

What you need to know for Friday and the weekend.

After a Brutal Year, Queens Is Slowly Returning to Life

It's Friday.

Weather: Today, chance of rain and storms, high in the upper 70s. Much the same Saturday, dipping to around 70. Partly sunny and warmer on Sunday, with spotty showers. Mid-80s on Monday, with some sun.

Alternate-side parking: In effect today and tomorrow. Suspended Monday for the Independence Day holiday.


Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

A year ago, north-central Queens became one of the country's first hot spots of the pandemic. Now, the energy on the streets seems to be returning, but the future is still uncertain.

Shops and restaurants are reopening on Roosevelt Avenue, and neighbors are starting to gather again. But many have lost reliable jobs, closed their businesses and fallen behind on rent.


"The beauty of what we see is that the immigrant community always finds a way to get by," Francisco Moya, a local Democratic city councilman, told my colleague Annie Correal.

But this resilience should not be confused with recovery, he said. "What you see on Roosevelt Avenue — it's survival."

Here's a rundown of what's happening as the area picks itself up again:

The residents who are out of work

Aureliano Mendoza, who became a street vendor after losing his job, told my colleague that he and his wife had to get by, at one point, on $60 a month. Both battled Covid-19 for weeks but avoided the hospital, though he nearly died. Then a sister in Mexico succumbed to the illness.


Many residents now work as food vendors after losing steady income. Jenny Escobar, who once worked as a babysitter, now spends her days sitting on 82nd Street beside a cooler filled with homemade ice pops, which she sells for $2 apiece.

Ms. Escobar, who is from Colombia, said whatever she earns goes toward paying back rent, and she feared what might happen to her and her fellow vendors if they lose this lifeline. Many are afraid of losing their housing, protected only by an eviction moratorium that is set to expire Aug. 31.

The businesses that are reopening

Though several businesses closed, most shops and restaurants stayed open. Some ZIP codes in the area even added more new businesses last year than in 2019.

Still, the local economy is far from operating normally. Sonia Izurraga's salon, Peruvian Connection, is up and running in Jackson Heights. But Ms. Izurraga said she fell three months behind on the rent and could not access the federal Paycheck Protection Program or other aid for small businesses because of her immigration status.

Several business owners are surviving only because the moratorium on evictions also covered their leases, said Leslie Ramos, the executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

"If you walk here, you would not know that the businesses are struggling. Our streets are busy, very busy. But we know the reality is quite different," Ms. Ramos said.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today's puzzle.

Summer in the City: Here are ways to celebrate July 4 in New York.

What we're reading

The Police Department will require people watching the Fourth of July fireworks from Manhattan's F.D.R. Drive to pass through metal detectors first. [New York Post]

The new subway cars set to roll out by the end of next year feature wider entryways and flexible connectors between train cars. [Gothamist]

Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed a state-run nursing home in Queens for storing about 1,000 boxes of personal protective equipment outside for months. [The City]

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And finally: Your social weekend

The Times's Melissa Guerrero writes:

While people are still connecting through virtual events and programs, with the summer season here and more people getting vaccinated, venues and organizations are holding in-person events. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend:

Virtual: 'MTA Arts & Design: NYC's Great Underground Art Museum'

On Friday at 1 p.m., join a webinar about the art pieces in subway stations across the city.

Purchase tickets ($10) on the event page.

In-person: 'Doll Parts: Dolly Saves America!'

Visit the Bell House in Brooklyn on Saturday at 8 p.m. for a performance by Doll Parts, a Dolly Parton cover band, in celebration of the country music artist.

Purchase tickets ($20) on the event page.

In-person: Screening of 'An American Tail'

On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., watch a screening of the animated film "An American Tail" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan.

Purchase tickets ($10) on the event page.

It's Friday — T.G.I.F.

Metropolitan Diary: Nasturtiums

Dear Diary:

I was getting my morning coffee as usual at my regular coffee shop. I was expecting to make the usual chitchat with Patrick, the barista. He seemed particularly cheery.

"Do you know what nasturtiums are?" he asked.

"No," I said.

Patrick said the chef from a restaurant around the corner often stopped in for coffee on his way to work after picking up things at the Union Square Greenmarket. On a recent day, he had a wagon of orange blossoms in tow.

He had explained to Patrick that the blossoms were edible flowers called nasturtiums and that you could get them at the market if you were there super early, before he and other chefs snatched them all up.

"And then today," Patrick said, "he brought me a box!"

He retrieved a clamshell container from behind the counter. It was filled with bright yellow and orange flowers.

"You can try one if you want," he said.

"Of course I do," I said, lifting one by its petals and popping it into my mouth.

It was peppery and explicitly sweet in the center. It felt like eating a flower.

— Molly Keene

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