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Mayor Adams: Slow return to offices will complicate NYC’s economic recovery

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The Big Apple’s road to recovery will be long — and complicated.

City Hall projected in budget documents released this week that it expects at least 20 percent of the five boroughs’ office space will remain empty through at least 2026.

That’s double the pre-pandemic vacancy rate, which sat at about 10 percent — and the first time the vacancy rate has soared above 15 percent for a sustained period of time since the crippling recession of the early 1990s.

And Mayor Eric Adams told The Post’s Editorial Board on Wednesday that ongoing resistance from employees to returning to working in Manhattan’s massive office towers will complicate the city’s rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know post-COVID we’re going to be dealing with a different universe, may go to a four day work week for some,” Adams told the paper.

“It is a real concern,” he added. “We’re going to have to get to the table with all of our business leaders, our economists — and really, we can’t stumble into post-COVID.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 2022 New York State Democratic Convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel on February 17, 2022.
Mayor Eric Adams told The Post’s Editorial Board that ongoing resistance from employees to returning to Manhattan’s office towers will complicate the city’s rebound from the pandemic.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Hizzoner has argued repeatedly — and many experts agree — that failing to get white-collar workers back behind their desks in Midtown or Downtown will have domino effects that could further hurt the city’s recovery by reducing the need for many service industry jobs, like cooks, custodians and cleaners.

“We need people back in the office space,” he said during the 30-minute interview. “That accountant must go to the restaurant, they must bring in the business travelers.”

“The risk to the city is on the commercial property tax side, as these vacancies rise the values of buildings fall,” said Sean Champion, a researcher at the government watchdog group, Citizens Budget Commission.

A general view of the New York City skyline and Midtown Manhattan skyline as seen from Weehawken, NJ on April 22, 2020.
New York City’s pre-pandemic vacancy rate sat at about 10 percent.
Christopher Sadowski

“If values fall, or values grow less quickly, that means ultimately either less revenue or slower growth in property tax revenue. And commercial property tends to pay a disparate share of the city’s property taxes.”

The financial projections included in Adams’ $99.7 billion spending plan also reveal that only 37 percent of New York’s white-collar workers have returned to their offices so far, which is below the 42 percent average reported across the nation’s ten biggest cities.

That figure has ticked up 10 percent in just the last two months as the initial Omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic receded.

Office buildings, which make up the heart of midtown Manhattan, stand largely empty on March 04, 2021 in New York City.
City Hall’s budget documents revealed that only 37 percent of New York’s white-collar workers have returned to their offices so far.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The slow pace of return and likely transition to a more work-from-home-centric economy is forcing Adams to eye potential ideas for converting some of the empty office and commercial space into housing.

Champion warned the process would likely be complex and lengthy.

“It’s really going to come down to whether our zoning regulations and regulation laws are flexible enough to allow property owners and tenants to work through these vacancies and repurpose these buildings where it makes sense,” the real estate expert said. “Right now, we don’t have enough flexibility where there is vacancy and floor plans make sense.”

The mayor acknowledged during the virtual sit-down that those evaluations are only beginning to get underway.

“There’s a lot of things that we must do when we’re going to sit down with a team of people to see what this post-COVID life look like,” he said.

Adams took pains during the interview to highlight the bright spots in the city’s economic picture — pointing out that the five boroughs are gaining jobs back at a rate that is now faster than the country.

Currently, the city’s unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, down more than two-thirds from the pandemic high of 21 percent.

Office buildings, which make up the heart of midtown Manhattan, stand largely empty on March 04, 2021 in New York City.
The city draws a tremendous amount of its tax revenue from commercial properties.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

That jobs hole was so deep that City Hall’s budget writers estimate the Big Apple will not return to its pre-pandemic levels of employment for at least another two years, until the third quarter of 2024.

That two-year timeline is an improvement over earlier projections when officials believed it could take until 2025.

Still, New York’s rate lags the 4.6 percent statewide unemployment rate and the 3.6 percent national rate.

“We are doing something right. Folks are coming back,” Adams said.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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