Fatal Train Shooting Keeps Fear of NYC Subways Front and Center for Passengers, Mayor Adams and Local Economy – New York Daily News

The subway shooting that killed a Goldman Sachs employee on Sunday sent shockwaves among workers who are reluctant to return to work in person, but Mayor Adams suggested on Tuesday that the same level of apprehension was in the air in town. subways since last year.

From what he says, business leaders have been saying the same thing since before he took office – that their employees were, and still are, afraid to hit the rails.

“They say the same things,” Adams said of the business leaders he spoke with. “Their employees are concerned about the safety of the subway system.”

Adams recounted how he began to build relationships with business leaders and small business owners before he was sworn in as mayor. Since then, he said he has kept them informed of developments in the subway, informing them of his policy to deploy more cops and remove homeless encampments from the system.

“We want to give them information, keep them informed about what we’re doing, and really have an open dialogue with our companies,” he said.

And while his side of that dialogue has changed with each policy update, the answer he hears has remained broadly the same: Workers are still afraid.

“We tackle this every day. Arrests by firearms have increased. Homicides have gone down. Shootings have decreased,” he said. “You’re starting to see the implementation of what we’re trying to do.”

In the subway, however, the statistics tell a different story.

Until Sunday, crime in the metro has increased by 58%. Fifteen people have been shot on the transit system so far this year, including 10 in the Sunset Park shooting that resulted in the arrest of Frank James.

The latest victim was Daniel Enriquez, a Goldman Sachs researcher shot dead on the Q train by an unknown man. Shooting suspect Andrew Abdullah turned himself in on Tuesday.

At this time last year, only two people had been shot on the subway, compared to 15 this year.

The spike in clandestine shootings comes at an inopportune time for Adams, who has made returning to work in person a priority of his first five months in office. On Tuesday, he and Governor Hochul launched an expert panel to examine the future of the city and the region’s economy.

The response Adams is getting from business leaders about the eruption of violence may be similar to what he was hearing in January and February. But business leaders and junkies who spoke to the Daily News on Tuesday said Enriquez’s murder struck differently.

Ralph Esposito, regional chairman of Suffolk Construction Co., said Sunday’s shooting had exacerbated the unease of its employees already affected by the subway attacks.

Suffolk, which has an office in the Garment District, requires employees to report to work in person five days a week with accommodations for those who test positive for COVID-19 or whose family members are infected.

Goldman Sachs, where Enriquez worked, also now requires its employees to be back in the office five days a week, according to a company spokeswoman.

“Most of us rely on the metro and people are really concerned about their safety,” Esposito said. “The #1 thing our employees are concerned about right now is safety, not COVID.”

As a result, Esposito said Suffolk management has asked employees to think about how they commute to work.

“We tell people to try to use public transport when it’s busy, and if they have to get home late at night, we encourage them to take an Uber,” he said. declared.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance, said the restaurants and bars his group represents had far more reason to worry than white-collar workers – many of whom can still work from home.

Additionally, more workers staying at home translates to fewer of them frequenting bars and restaurants in the city’s commercial nodes.

“If someone doesn’t feel safe going into town, they’re not going to buy their lunch at a local restaurant or go to bars for happy hour,” he said. “People recognize how quickly public perception can change and the impact that has on the industry, and that’s a conversation that’s front and center right now.”

Carlo Scissura, who was set to become Adams’ economic development czar earlier this year but ultimately failed to address concerns over his past lobbying work, said Sunday’s shooting hampered the push for office workers to return to full-time in-person work.

“The momentum was building, then Sunday came and now people just need a little bit to catch their breath,” said Scissura, president of the Building Congress, which represents hundreds of companies in the real estate industry. . “Maybe it will take a week or two.”

The Durst Organization, one of the city’s largest providers of office space, shared data with The News showing that New York’s white-collar workers have returned to in-person work at an increasing rate this year.

For the past six weeks, occupancy rates at the 13 million square feet of office space Durst manages in the city have been around 50% of pre-pandemic levels on Monday; 60-65% on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and 40% on Friday, according to the data.

“It’s much, much higher than a year ago,” said Jordan Barowitz, vice president of public affairs at Durst.

Meanwhile, not everyone blamed random acts of violence for people’s reluctance to return to the office.

“I lived in New York for 12 years. A lot of bad things happened; you can’t live your life in fear,” said Ciera Lowe, 29, who commutes by subway from downtown Brooklyn to her computer job at the World Trade Center. “I work in data. When you look at crime, shootings, and you look at per capita stats, it’s really not that scary.

Vivek Agar, who works in the Financial District and takes PATH from New Jersey, said he and his colleagues come two days a week, which was not close to full occupancy. He estimated that it is about 20% full each day.

“People have gotten used to working from home. Some people I work with are concerned about crime, but I think some people use it as an excuse to continue working remotely,” he said. “New York isn’t the same. The energy you felt is gone. I don’t know when it will come back.”

With Rocco Parascandola

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