Americas

After a Brutal Year, Queens Is Slowly Returning to Life

By Ashley Wong

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It’s Friday.

Weather: Today, chance of rain and storms, high in the upper 70s. Much the same Saturday, dipping to around 70. Partly sunny and warmer on Sunday, with spotty showers. Mid-80s on Monday, with some sun.

Alternate-side parking: In effect today and tomorrow. Suspended Monday for the Independence Day holiday.

A year ago, north-central Queens became one of the country’s first hot spots of the pandemic. Now, the energy on the streets seems to be returning, but the future is still uncertain.

Shops and restaurants are reopening on Roosevelt Avenue, and neighbors are starting to gather again. But many have lost reliable jobs, closed their businesses and fallen behind on rent.

“The beauty of what we see is that the immigrant community always finds a way to get by,” Francisco Moya, a local Democratic city councilman, told my colleague Annie Correal.

But this resilience should not be confused with recovery, he said. “What you see on Roosevelt Avenue — it’s survival.”

[Read more about the tentative revival in Queens.]

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening as the area picks itself up again:

The residents who are out of work

Aureliano Mendoza, who became a street vendor after losing his job, told my colleague that he and his wife had to get by, at one point, on $60 a month. Both battled Covid-19 for weeks but avoided the hospital, though he nearly died. Then a sister in Mexico succumbed to the illness.

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