The Daily Dirt: Schools can reopen — but will people come back to NYC?

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

Schools may be opening in September. That doesn’t mean families will rush back to the city.

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the greenlight to schools throughout the state to reopen — as long as the rate of coronavirus cases in their regions remains below 5 percent. If that condition is met, school superintendents — in the state’s 700-plus districts — will make the final call as to whether to have in-person classes.

Families that retreated to the Hamptons, tri-state area and elsewhere during the pandemic are now faced with the question: Is it time to return to the city?

In his announcement, the governor predicted that the reopening of schools will start to bring “some of the family market” back. But so far, it looks like many will stay put.

Several brokers and housing experts told Sasha Jones and Erin Hudson that parents have opted to enroll their kids in schools near wherever they relocated or are waiting to see what happens in the next few months. They don’t want to risk returning only to have the city shut down again in a month or two.

“Schools are step one,” said Gary Malin, head of rentals at the Corcoran Group. “My assumption is that a lot of people are concerned about, well, [for] how long? … The city is still far from being the city that people left.”

Of the course, the question of if and how NYC’s schools will reopen is still up in the air. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that public schools won’t reopen unless the infection rate is below 3 percent. According to the New York Daily News, the city Education Department last week submitted a 32-page plan for bringing students back to school in shifts.

What we’re thinking about: Will MetaProp meet its ambitious fundraising goals? Send a note to


Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Friday was for a townhouse at 6 West 83rd Street on the Upper West Side at $7.5 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for three retail buildings in Queens at 97-01 63 Drive, 32-01 30 Avenue, and 101-06 Queens Boulevard at $20 million.

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The largest new building filing of the day was for a 21,113-square-foot mixed-use building at 82 Fourth Avenue in Boerum Hill. Posner Abraham of Boerum Hill 82 LLC filed the permit application.


The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 41 Great Jones Street in Noho at $14 million. Nest Seekers International has the listing.
— Research by Orion Jones

A thing we’ve learned…

The family that runs Gaw Capital is apparently of Teochew descent, because their family name, 吳, is pronounced “Wu” in Mandarin, “Ng” in Cantonese and “Ngo” in Taiwanese, but “Gaw” in Teochew. Thank you to Kevin Sun for providing this tidbit.

Elsewhere in New York

— During the first day of an initiative launched to inform out-of-state travelers of quarantine rules, New York City stopped 200 drivers on city bridges and tunnels, Gothamist reports. The city created checkpoints to stop drivers from states with high Covid-19 rates. “That number is going to grow greatly this weekend,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

— A coalition of police unions have lobbed a lawsuit against the city seeking to dismantle a new law that bars officers from using chokeholds or kneeling on someone’s neck or back, Politico New York reports. “This punitive municipal law threatens police officers with fines and imprisonment for doing their jobs in good faith with no intent to harm a suspect, nor even any requirement that a suspect suffer injury,” the suit says.

— A very determined woman is seeking to revive a lawsuit over wine that was allegedly spilled on her $30,000 Hermès bag at a New Jersey country club, the New York Post reports. Maryana Beyder sued the Alpine Country Club in October, claiming her pink designer purse was stained while eating at the establishment.