New York tour guide hopes tourism will return for another bite of the Big Apple

For New York City tour guide Megan Marod, the first warning of the pandemic’s financial toll came weeks before Broadway’s theaters and Manhattan’s museums closed.

In just one late February day, she lost NZ$8,000 from cancellations by student groups that typically flood the city in the early spring — her most lucrative months.

“I started panicking, and people told me not to,” she said. “Everyone said I was overreacting. Then everything started shutting down.”

Since those early days of the city’s coronavirus outbreak, out-of-towners have become scarce. Times Square, the “Crossroads of the World,” is eerily empty, and a section of Central Park is home to a makeshift field hospital. It all has devastated the tourism economy that aided the city’s recovery from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and posted a decade of steady spending growth that topped out at NZ$74 billion last year.

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