Coronavirus Update New York City: Women-owned businesses in NYC showing perseverance amid pandemic

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Walk down any street in New York City these days, and the scars inflicted by the lingering pandemic are everywhere.

They can be seen in the "for rent" signs of once thriving businesses now closed, in the makeshift sidewalk seating of restaurants barely hanging on and even in the masked faces of COVID-weary pedestrians.

However, look a little deeper and there are plenty of stories of resilience and determination, specifically with women-owned businesses.

"I have to persevere, I have to push forward," restaurant owner Melba Wilson said. "My community depends on it, my family depends on me."

Wilson is the owner of a popular Harlem restaurant that bears her name. It hasn't been easy, but she's kept the door open and her staff working through the pandemic.

She is also even opening a second restaurant uptown by the end of the month.

"People are going to come back," Wilson said. "I'm not leaving my city. New York has never turned its back on me, nor will I turn my back on this city that I so love so."

Julie Gaines is the owner of Fishs Eddy, a popular store in the Flatiron neighborhood known best for its unique and quirky dishware and other home goods. She admits business is down about 70%, but says like most women owned-businesses, she faced hard times before and rose to the challenge.

"Maybe like any group that's had to fight for equality, being stepped on makes you come back more," she said.

Ellen Futter is president of the American Museum of Natural History and co-chair of the Coalition for NYC Hospitality and Tourism Recovery -- an effort to help get New York City back on its feet. She says the ability of female business owners to pivot and juggle -- much the same way women do with their responsibilities at home-- is an important asset as the city tries to recover.

"Never bet against New York and always bet on women," Futter said.

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A person found her body inside a vacant warehouse at the Fulton Fish Market and called 911.

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