Ever since the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey published its seminal report on the importance of arts, culture and entertainment in the New York City economy, these activities, instead of being thought of as a social benefit that affluent societies could afford, have been thought of as part of the economic base.
The same may be said of sports stadiums, convention centers and casinos elsewhere in the United States. In fact, had I written this post a year ago, the subject might have been an art, culture and entertainment bubble in New York City, with more venues than the city’s economy and population could support. And an eating and drinking places bubble nationwide, with Americans running up their credit cards unsustainably to eat out.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. It will eventually end, but whenever and however that comes to be, travel and in-person gatherings for the purpose of arts, entertainment, culture, sports, leisure or otherwise will be among the last activities to recover. The question is whether New York City’s arts, entertainment and culture industries will collapse entirely. Although a retrenchment was coming in any event, I would argue that these activities will be hit less hard here than elsewhere, and NYC’s share of the national total may in fact, increase. In part because the demand for space and place cannot be understood separately from its price.