Throughout its history, New York City has always been a city full of strong people who can quickly adapt to whatever comes their way. During the World Wars and economic downturns, after 9/11 and through the pandemic, New Yorkers have survived and used their creativity and talent to overcome and innovate.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that in our annual Time Out Index—a poll of 27,000 city-dwellers from Melbourne to Madrid, Chicago to Copenhagen and Tel Aviv to Tokyo—New York City has been rated as the most resilient city in the world. (The second most resilient is Manchester, U.K. and third is Manila, Philippines. Lyon, France was the least resilient city.)
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This is the second year in a row that NYC has had this distinction from our Index. Last year, NYC was just going through the worst of the pandemic and it had risen out of a massive shutdown that crippled the city economically as thousands fled to the suburbs and small businesses shuttered. Despite this, New Yorkers rolled up their sleeves and got to work thinking of the most innovative ways to rise above, from growing mutual aid networks and launching community fridges to presenting arts and music on the street.
2021 was a continuation of this resolve. While we finally had vaccines available, we were still climbing out of one of the most challenging moments for the city. NYC was waking up after a too-long slumber and in a big way.
The city’s icons came back albeit slowly and in different capacities and there were a lot of great firsts—a temporary Ferris wheel was built in Times Square, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s first-ever holiday lights spectacular, weed was finally legalized in New York, Manhattan got its first distillery in a century, the Meatpacking District held its first L.E.A.F. flower festival, Roosevelt Island got its first rooftop bar and Governors Island was open to the public for the winter for the first time ever.
There were also a lot of really cool openings, such as the major Yayoi Kusama show at the New York Botanical Garden, Little Island, the “floating” park on the Hudson River opened its gates, the battling Van Gogh immersive exhibits took over Manhattan, the massive Harry Potter Store New York came to Flatiron and the Edge introduced its heart-pounding Climb experience.
It’s clear NYC wasn’t going to let the pandemic keep it down. The city came back stronger than ever and we see its residents’ resiliency to this day in all there is to do across the boroughs.
It may be a dirty city but it’s the strongest city.