It’s been a cold, lonely winter in New York.
The frigid weather and Covid-19 restrictions have left New Yorkers living like hermits. Many, feeling fed up, are opting out and fleeing to the Sunshine State and other warm escapes.
As of Feb.12, New York City restaurants were finally allowed to open for indoor dining– but only at 25 percent capacity. Despite restaurants’ efforts to add outdoor heaters and create pods, outdoor dining in NY was numbing. Lincoln Center, Broadway and Carnegie Hall remain shuttered, and so New Yorkers dreaming of a social life are getting on planes and heading South to Florida, and specifically to Palm Beach County.
“I have escaped New York!’’ exclaimed Jean Denoyer, owner of La Goulue, a Manhattan Bistro which just opened a new location in Palm Beach, Fla. “We take everyone’s temperature when they arrive and keep the doors and windows open so fresh air circulates.” The new restaurant, just a short flight away seems like a different world. They have been operating at 100 percent capacity, and business is booming with tables and chairs full of indoor patrons enjoying and living it up.
As reported in a recent article in the NY Post, similarly Philippe Delgrange, owner of Le Bilboquet on Manhattan’s East 60th Street, also opened shop in Palm Beach. “[Palm Beach] is really working with you, not trying to put wood in your wheels,’’ said Delgrange, denoting the restrictions placed on restaurants in NYC. Although masks are required at indoors locations there too, there are no specific spacing restrictions, so it is commonplace to see bars and restaurants filled with maskless patrons who are eating and drinking. Moreover, the Kravis Center in West Palm just announced that they will open for jazz performances later this month.
The drastic difference is apparent despite the fact that in Palm Beach County COVID infection rates were up to 7.57 percent last week. In New York, the rate fell to 5.08 percent from a high of over 7 percent. “I feel alive again. I could move here for the rest of my life,’’ said Long Islander Erica Holzer, 47, who came to Palm Beach with her husband for eight weeks. “They take precautions but aren’t absurd…It’s just so freeing to be here.’’
“I arrived here last week and it feels like a different world,’’ said Soho resident Charles Rosenberg, 30, who is staying in Palm Beach for a few weeks. “But I think when the spring comes, New York will feel like this again.”