Visitation recovery in %
Average street block's 2019 – 2022 visitation number comparison
Inside commute areas
This new regional division of labor APPEARS LOCKED IN.
Pandemic restrictions and fears eased after vaccination campaigns in spring and summer 2021. But these new activity patterns have proven surprisingly sticky.
To better understand how remote work is distributed throughout the expanded region, we divided it into four sub-areas based on rush hour travel time to Midtown Manhattan. Mobile phone activity was measured in each area to compare changes in the average number of monthly visitors from before the pandemic (2019) to 2022.
What we find is that activity in outlying areas (40-60 minutes, 60-120 minutes rush hour commute to Midtown) remains well above pre-pandemic levels.
The innermost ring encompassing nearby residential areas in Manhattan (less than 20 minutes to Midtown) remains depressed.
Indeed, the further a place is from Midtown, the bigger the gain in activity. And these patterns show little change from 2021 to 2022, indicating a potentially permanent shift.