New York

NYC Subway Ridership Just Hit a Pandemic-Era High

Nearly 3.5 million people rode the subway last Thursday.

LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images
LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images
LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images

After experiencing an Omicron-fueled slowdown, ridership on the New York City subway system is back to an all-time high for the pandemic era.

The MTA recently announced that last Thursday, May 5, saw 3,497,122 riders use the system in a 24-hour period. That’s the most single-day riders since March 2020, when the city shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. At the time, the subway system was averaging around 5.5 million weekday riders.

The previous pandemic-era high was set back on December 9, 2021 when the subway carried just over 3.42 million people. Ridership plunged again shortly afterward due to the spread of the Omicron variant before picking back up at the start of 2022.

“New York City Transit is working around the clock to improve service, upgrade the system, and encourage riders to come back to public transit,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey in a press statement. “Optimal service, increasing frequency of trains, and maintaining strong on-time performance are our main focuses as we continue to hire train operators and bolster the transit system for the returning ridership. New Yorkers are returning to public transit because they know it is the most efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective way to move around the city.”

While questions about whether or not office workers will ever return in their full pre-pandemic numbers remain, the city has come a long way from the dark days of 2020 when the subway saw ridership drop by over 90%. The city is also expecting a significant tourism boost this year, with new hotel openings and a full slate of spring and summer cultural activities. Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.

New York

How to Shop Local for Small Business Saturday in NYC

From West African packaged foods to hand-poured candles.

Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods

Walk around any local neighbourhood throughout the five boroughs, and through empty storefronts, it’s clear that small businesses in NYC have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic.

This year for Small Business Saturday, not only can you show your support by popping in to your favourite shop, but by also making purchases online. Here are just a few brands to spend your money on this holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York
Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York
Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York

Coffee Project New York

Various locations
This coffee roastery focused on inclusivity and sustainable practices has locations in the East Village, Chelsea, and Fort Greene, in addition to a training center in Long Island City. For the holidays, stay caffeinated with Coffee Project New York‘s special Around the World in 12 Days gift set featuring 12 global beans and tasting notes for each.

Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods
Egunsi Foods

Egunsi Foods (part of Harlem incubator program)

Virtual
This online packaged food brand started by ‘Yemisi Awosan when she was homesick for Nigerian flavours during college offers West African goods made with farm-to-table ingredients. From soups and stews to fufu and sauces, Egunsi Foods also has vegan items.

I Like It Black (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
This cozy coffee shop highlights products from coffee roasters in the Black community. In addition to sandwiches, coffee beans, tea, and more, I Like It Black‘s space also offers a great view of Harlem’s historic 125th Street thoroughfare.

Lee Lee's Rugelach
Lee Lee’s Rugelach
Lee Lee’s Rugelach

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
This Harlem institution from Alvin Lee Smalls has been a NYC destination for rugelach since 1965. For sharing during the holidays, at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, the popular Jewish treat that translates to “little twist” in Yiddish is available in a 12, 24, and 36 set, in addition to a special 26-piece gift tin.

Make My Cake
Make My Cake
Make My Cake

Make My Cake Bakery (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
Make My Cake Bakery is run by several generations of the Smith family with recipes passed down from their matriarch, Josephine Smith aka “Ma Smith.” From cakes and cookies and pies and pastries, order flavours ranging from double chocolate delight cupcakes, coconut pecan cookies, cinnamon rolls, and black & white cake. There’s also an Upper West Side location in addition to the Harlem storefront.

Sugar Hill Creamery
Sugar Hill Creamery
Sugar Hill Creamery

Sugar Hill Creamery (part of Harlem incubator program)

Harlem
As longtime Harlem residents, the husband-and-wife team behind Sugar Hill Creamery opened their popular shop in 2017 to be a place for the neighbourhood to grab a seat and enjoy artisanal ice cream made from scratch. In addition to offering an array of flavours like the Chairperson of the Board (blueberry cheesecake) and Nunu’s Peach Cobbler (peach with cobbler crumbler), they also regularly host community based programs throughout the year meant to empower the Black experience while facilitating connection and storytelling. In addition to a location in Hamilton Heights and Time Out Market in Dumbo, products are also available for nationwide shipping.

Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber
Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber
Photo courtesy of Schaller & Weber

Schaller & Weber

Upper East Side
Schaller and Weber is an Upper East Side butcher shop that’s been offering German-style sausages and Northern European speciality foods for more than 80 years. If a single order of pate or charcuterie isn’t going to cut it this year, choose from an array of gift packs like the Christmas Gift Box with an array of items ranging from truffle brat to olive oil crackers.

Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames
Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames
Photo courtesy of Spoken Flames

Spoken Flames

Virtual
Spoken Flames is a candle company founded by Shavaun Christian and each candle is hand-poured and made with a natural coconut wax blend. Choose from selections like Sea Sea Me made with salt, melon, musk, and chamomile, and the LOL featuring notes of mango, lavender, and fresh linen.

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Tae Yoon was born and raised in Queens, and is the Editor of Thrillist New York.

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