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'City Of Tomorrow Summit' Held To Chart New York City's Comeback From Coronavirus Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Americans are still very much in the throes of the health care and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But on Tuesday leaders from all across the country came together to discuss what it would take for New York City to recover.

Experts believe a recovery is possible, but it's a steep uphill challenge, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.

It's not about going back to normal. They say it's important to address the disparities the pandemic has magnified.

MORENew York City's Second Coronavirus Shutdown Begins For Schools, Businesses In Hot Zones

The city has weathered many storms. Still, this pandemic seems to be the worst one in recent history.

"Maybe it'll be 2022 or something, but I think we'll come back eventually. It's just hard to wait it out," one person said.


Iconic retailers are going out of business. Sightseeing tour bus employees now stand in a virtually empty Times Square. Office buildings remain empty, as many employees continue to work from home, the very people the City of Tomorrow Summit wants to come back.

"For every one office worker there's five service jobs, so it's the restaurateur, it's the dry cleaner, it's the pharmacy, it's the florist," RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler said.

On Tuesday, the 92nd Street Y held a summit with thought leaders to envision New York City's recovery.

"Even if we have a vaccine, this could be two or three years where we have to learn to move out and move around and get things moving again," Rechler said.

Experts say the recovery has to super serve essential workers and largely underrepresented communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

Quality of life issues like crime also have to be addressed.

"I would like to see affordable apartments in every area of the city dispersed in every building," said Eran Chen, founding principal of ODA Architecture.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What's yet to be seen is a comprehensive plan that at the very least would inspire hope.

"I guess I would like to see a little more leadership," one New Yorker said.

"Some real plan, call to action. Some roll-up-your-sleeves-and-make-this-get-back-to-normal kind of thing," another person said.

The longer that takes, experts say, the harder the recovery will be.

"Long term, I have no doubt about the rebound of New York. Short term, we have got very serious challenges," said Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City.

Business leaders say they have reached out to local government, but feel like they've been widely ignored.

And while they say money is an issue, they say how it's managed is even more important.

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