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NYC Struggles With Post-COVID Recovery As Foot Traffic Falls 33%

NYC Struggles With Post-COVID Recovery As Foot Traffic Falls 33%

Sidewalks lined with office workers, especially in lower Manhattan’s financial…



NYC Struggles With Post-COVID Recovery As Foot Traffic Falls 33%
Sidewalks lined with office workers, especially in lower Manhattan's financial hub around Wall Street and the Midtown area, home to Times Square, was a pre-Covid phenomenon as remote work trends hamper New York City's economic recovery. First reported by the New York Post, the University of Toronto has published new recovery metrics showing foot traffic in crime-ridden NYC is down 33% compared with 2019, before the pandemic, indicating a souring economic recovery. Researchers used location-based mobility data derived from smartphones to reveal foot traffic trends in metro areas. They explain that a recovery metric greater than 100% means the city's downtown foot traffic has recovered from pre-Covid levels and vice versa. NYC's recovery rate of 66% is ranked 54th out of 66 cities - this is embarrassing for the imploding metro area controlled by radical leftists. While researchers did not explain the cause for the decline, we have outlined remote and hybrid work trends are partially responsible for the fall of office workers in the metro area. Kastle Systems, the gold-standard measure of office occupancy trends via card-swipe data, shows NYC stands at 48.94% but is still far from the nearly 100% occupancy level before the pandemic. Without office workers spending their disposable incomes, the local economy will suffer, resulting in a slow and painful recovery. Besides remote work trends, office workers have fled the progressive hellhole because of high taxes and out-of-control violent crime. Now, the migrant crisis has made things even worse. NYC's dismal recovery bodes well for bustling city streets in Miami - also known as the 'Wall Street of the South.'
Tyler Durden Wed, 11/08/2023 - 07:45

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Beloved Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip tradition closer to the end

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die. That’s a line sung by Bradley Cooper’s character in the hit "A Star Is Born" remake he and Lady Gaga co-starred…



Maybe it's time to let the old ways die. That's a line sung by Bradley Cooper's character in the hit "A Star Is Born" remake he and Lady Gaga co-starred in. And in many ways, that's what slowly happens on the Las Vegas Strip and eventually throughout the city as the old ways, the so-called classic Las Vegas, get relegated to the fringes before they eventually disappear. The classic Las Vegas showgirl review followed this arc. First, it was pretty much a Strip necessity to have showgirls as part of your big headline show. Then it became more of a novelty, then it became nostalgia and, finally, it ended.

Related: Las Vegas Strip star makes surprise residency decision

When "Jubilee," the last showgirls show on the Las Vegas Strip, closed in 2016, an NPR article about it was headlined "Trapped in Time." It was an art form with a peak that had passed, which now exists solely in the semiparody/semicreepy women dressed in showgirl outfits on the Strip trying to sell photographs (and maybe more). Lots of other Las Vegas traditions are just memories. Slots are no longer played with coins, for example, which has changed what a Las Vegas resort casino sounds like. Instead of the the clanging of quarters, you now get a DJ's playlist. You can no longer get $0.99 shrimp cocktail, and a lot of the old food deals designed to get people into a casino have gone away. That also includes another Las Vegas tradition that was dying before the pandemic and has seen its demise hastened by changing trends. The Arena Media Brands, LLC and respective content providers to this website may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.
Showgirls have disappeared from Las Vegas' entertainment lineup.Image source: Shutterstock

Las Vegas is no longer the land of buffets

In the 1990s and 2000s, every resort casino seemed to have a buffet. Most of them were closer to Golden Corral than fine dining. But the idea was to keep people in the casino, get them fed (maybe even with a comp) and then get them back on the casino floor. As Las Vegas has become a culinary capital of the world, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International MGM, Wynn Resorts, and the other Las Vegas Strip players realized that they could make more money from low- and mid-tier gamblers by selling them Guy Fieri, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and other big-name celebrity chefs than by having them playing slots. That has made the space once devoted to buffets valuable real estate that makes more sense as a high-end restaurant than it does as a low-end all-you-can-eat eatery. "On the Las Vegas Strip, only eight buffets remain (the Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, The Buffet at Bellagio, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Buffet, the Buffet at Excalibur, the Circus Buffet at Circus Circus, and The Buffet at Luxor) where 18 once stood," reported. VISIT LAS VEGAS: Are you ready to plan your dream Las Vegas Strip getaway? Most of those, aside from from Excalibur and Circus, are very high-end affairs that can cost nearly (or over for some special servings) $100. Buffets have met the same fate off the Strip, and another has closed to make way for a new trend, a food hall.

Rio is closing its buffet

When Resorts World opened on the North Strip during the pandemic, it did not have a buffet. Instead, it offered a massive food hall that contained more than 40 food and beverage options. This offered people choice — maybe a better selection than even the best buffets — by grouping lots of options in one space. At Resorts World's food hall you can even order from multiple places from your phone, and then collect your food when it is ready. It's an upscale take on the old classic that comes with higher costs for customers, but also higher quality. Now, Rio, which was just transferred from Caesars operating it to a new owner, Dreamscape, has decided to close its Carnival World Buffet and replace it with Canteen Food Hall. F1? SUPER BOWL? MARCH MADNESS? Plan a dream Las Vegas getaway. The new concept will open in January. Rio is undergoing a $350 million transformation under its new owners. Canteen will offer a wide array of choices with a ramen shop, a Mexican eatery focused on burritos, the famed Tony Luke's cheesesteak shop and a burger concept, as well as different take on chicken tenders, and a stall selling Japanese street food. Receive full access to real-time market analysis along with stock, commodities, and options trading recommendations. Sign up for Real Money Pro now.

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Southwest Airlines makes major change that passengers won’t like

Travelers should act quickly before the holidays.



One major U.S. airline has, in the recent past, demonstrated a tough relationship with the winter holiday season.

Last December, Southwest Airlines LUV experienced a serious crash that caused widespread disruption for its passengers.

Related: Another fast-food operator files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The airline ended up canceling a huge number of flights during one of the busiest times of the year for travel.

Outdated computer systems had apparently struggled to deal with an increase in bookings, hurting Southwest's ability to manage its flights.

The cancellations had a ripple effect, stranding passengers nationwide and separating them from their luggage.

The airline has implemented several steps to prevent a repeat of these incidents, but now the carrier appears to have a labor issue on its hands right before the 2023 holiday season.

Southwest's pilots have begun preparing to strike. Those preparations include opening a Regional Strike Center in Dallas, the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association has announced.

And now, another change affecting the carrier's passengers is on its way.

People line up at a Southwest Airlines counter.

Image source: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Southwest Airlines devalues its points by about 4%

Members of Rapid Rewards, Southwest's points earning program, are able to redeem points they earn by flying, or by spending with Southwest's partners.

They can use these points for flights, hotel stays and rental cars through Southwest and for gift cards, merchandise and other items through participating credit cards.

Now, however, the airline is devaluing its points, negatively impacting members.

But there is still time to book flights before the change is implemented on Jan. 1, 2024.

"Southwest award tickets are priced based on the cash value of that same ticket," wrote travel influencer Danny the Deal Guru on his website. "Rapid Rewards points are valued at about 1.4 cents-per-point. That means that if a flight costs $140, then you would be able to book it with 10,000 Rapid Rewards points. That might vary slightly based on routes."

But the carrier now says, beginning on the first day of the new year, that the points required per dollar of base fare will increase by approximately 4%.

"So with this 4% increase, that same $140 flight that we took as an example above, will cost 10,400 Rapid Rewards points starting next year," the website wrote. "That's not a huge devaluation, but it is a devaluation nonetheless. That brings the value of Rapid Rewards points to about 1.35 cent each."

Southwest last devalued points during the pandemic two years ago, after allowing passengers to convert their travel credits to points.

"After its historic operational meltdown a year ago the airline gave points to passengers," wrote Gary Leff on View From the Wing. "Their apology for last Christmas will be worth 4% less for anyone saving their points."

Leff also provided some historical perspective on the move.

"With this change Southwest will have devalued about 43% in 12 years since launching 'Rapid Rewards 2.0,'" he wrote. "And there’s really no good reason to devalue their points other than greed. Currently each point is worth around 1.2 cents apiece towards base airfare, or closer to 1.4 cents when factoring taxes saved."

Southwest travelers with award travel to book ought to consider doing it soon.

"There's little downside to redeeming your Southwest points now, before the January 1 4% devaluation, and you may come out ahead," Leff wrote.

"At least they've given some advance notice."

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This Crime Data Is Not Real

This Crime Data Is Not Real

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

Headlines in recent weeks blared that crime is down, all based…



This Crime Data Is Not Real

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

Headlines in recent weeks blared that crime is down, all based on a new report from the FBI.

News media picked it up and did the predictable kabuki dance over the greatness of the Biden administration, as if the president has anything to do with it.

Mainly, the point is that all is well.

There's nothing about which to complain.

You're safe and prosperous, so just stop your kvetching.

The report stated the following:

“The FBI’s crime statistics estimates for 2022 show that national violent crime decreased an estimated 1.7 percent in 2022 compared to 2021 estimates: Murder and non-negligent manslaughter recorded a 2022 estimated nationwide decrease of 6.1 percent compared to the previous year. In 2022, the estimated number of offenses in the revised rape category saw an estimated 5.4 percent decrease. Aggravated assault in 2022 decreased an estimated 1.1 percent in 2022. Robbery showed an estimated increase of 1.3 percent nationally.”

Before we examine this reported data, consider that there's no reason to believe that it's even close to the truth.

In all the chaos of the last several years, people have mostly stopped reporting theft and even assault. It’s so routine and everyone knows that the police will not and probably cannot do anything anyway. This truth is easily confirmed by asking any street-level store owner in any big city. Theft is rampant. Cameras are everywhere. But there's nothing they can do about it.

Just a couple of days ago, I was in a CVS Pharmacy and startled that the toothpaste was under lock and key. That’s how terrible things have gotten in formerly civilized places.

One wonders about assaults, too. Based on what you can see in midtown Manhattan on any night, does anyone believe that assaults in this setting are being reported? What precisely would be the point?

To be sure, murders are different. Those data are less subject to reporting problems. But here's another problem: a basic statistical error in how it is presented. It’s a sophomoric point but nonetheless real. Whether something is up or down, getting better or getting worse, entirely depends on the baseline that you choose as your starting date. If you choose the absolute worst peak of a trend, everything else looks good by comparison.

That's precisely what the FBI has done.

It has chosen the worst possible year in order to make our present hellish reality seem great by comparison. Joshua Crawford of the Georgia Center for Opportunity explains:

“Part of the problem with most media analysis is that 2019 didn’t represent a historical baseline of homicide and violent crime rates in America—2014 did. Nationally, violent crime and murder were much more prevalent in 2019 than in 2014. So though U.S. rates have fallen back to pre-pandemic levels, the country is well above normal violent-crime rates. Total violent crime in 2022 was 5 percent higher than in 2014, an increase that represents tens of thousands of additional victims in a single year. The national homicide rate in 2022 was 43 percent higher than in 2014. Since 2015, there have been roughly 30,000 more murders in the U.S. than there would have been if the homicide rate had stayed at the 2014 low.”

Which is to say, this is all terrible news. It's only not as terrible as the most terrible possible reality of 4 years ago. This isn't crime being down; this is crime persisting and even worsening in many respects in many places, especially in blue areas such as San Francisco.

We're all getting pretty fed up with the lying by statistics. Sadly, it often works. It depends fundamentally on the public’s statistical ignorance, which is undoubtedly very high. People can only understand the most rudimentary notions, such as “up” and “down,” without asking more important questions such as “Compared with what?” much less more sophisticated questions such as "Are we talking about an absolute fall or a drop in the rate of increase?"

We experience this constantly with inflation data. For more than two years, we've kept hearing about a fall in the inflation rate. People hear that and think, “Oh, prices are coming back down,” without even realizing that this isn't what it means. It means a falling rate at which prices are going up. Prices are still going up.

Mass statistical ignorance is extremely costly. It allows a ruling class to toss around numbers all the time to sound vaguely sciency but without having any real substance behind the claims. This is what enabled the Biden administration to say daily that the job market is great, that economic growth is strong, that Americans are growing wealthier, and now, that crime is down. It’s all completely gibberish and contradicted by every bit of reality that we observe with our own eyes.

The crime problem is a major one because it directly affects two fundamental points of security that are essential to the good life: security of property and security of person. Both are in deep trouble in America today. It only adds insult to literal injury that our own FBI is tossing around extremely misleading data to suggest that it's all in our heads.

If and when things settle down, and America gets its act together again, there needs to be a mass educational campaign to do remedial classes in math and statistics (and probably logic, too). It was the ignorance of the basics that allowed so many people to be bamboozled during the COVID-19 era. When you don’t really understand the math or data, you have no real choice but to trust the interpretation of the featured experts. This is a huge problem.

During this period of our lives, property became ever less secure, first wrecked by government edict and then threatened by mobs of riots and now under assault from petty thieves and organized shoplifting gangs. Respect for life has declined, too. Generally, the very notions of human dignity and bodily autonomy have declined in moral legitimacy in the public mind.

Foot traffic in our cities has fallen dramatically, and this is partially a result of crime fears. Will murders decline from their highs, too? Certainly. But this isn't because our streets are safer. It's because people are too terrified to go there. This isn't an improvement but evidence of a worsening problem.

That kind of analysis is too deep and rich for sound bites in today’s manipulated public square, where propaganda always seems to prevail over facts. It’s true in economics. It’s true in public health. And now we see that it's true in crime reporting as well. It’s just another sector of life in which the decline in trust is much merited.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/10/2023 - 20:20

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