Back to Real Life: New York City in 2024

Last Updated: June 11, 2024By

Back to Real Life: New York City in 2024

Call it a return to real life! New Yorkers are diving back into the hustle and bustle of city life, four years after the pandemic shook everything up. Routines were upended, people were glued to their screens, and everyone was wondering if things would ever go back to normal. Well, guess what? They did!


City Protests and Traffic Chaos

Uptown, the police have been breaking up protests at Columbia and City University campuses. Students are out in force, protesting Israel’s attack on Gaza. Meanwhile, downtown, a very angry Donald Trump is making headlines again. His trips to and from the courthouse near Chinatown are causing major traffic jams. President Biden’s fundraising visits aren’t helping either—they’re adding to the traffic mess.

The Met Gala Returns

On Monday, the annual Met Gala will shut down streets on the Upper East Side for a completely different kind of event. Just like the campus protests, there will be a heavy police presence. But instead of angry chants, you’ll hear excited cheers as fans line the streets. Celebrities will be strutting their stuff—maybe even Taylor Swift will make an appearance! From protest signs to glamorous dresses, the city’s atmosphere shifts dramatically. The red carpet will be back, showcasing movie projects, boosting celebrity careers, and giving luxury brands a spotlight, all under the watchful eye of US Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

Met Gala watchers think this year’s event will be less dramatic than last year’s. That one honored Karl Lagerfeld, a designer who stirred up plenty of controversy with his opinions.


“That was the most controversial I can remember,” said Wintour’s biographer, Amy Odell.

“Before that, they had Gilded Glamour, which seemed out of touch right after the pandemic. Kim Kardashian wore a Marilyn Monroe dress and possibly damaged it. It seemed to go against everything the Met Gala stands for, which is preserving historic fashion.”

The Rise of Events and Social Media

Last week, Condé Nast, Vogue’s parent company, shared that its future lies in live events and social video streams. They’re focusing on events like the Met Gala, Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party, and Vogue World. Even more, they’re venturing into new territories with GQ Sports, launching around the Super Bowl.


Anna Wintour even highlighted an unexpected red carpet guest—a cockroach—that became a social media sensation during last year’s Met Gala livestream. It just goes to show that live events are unpredictable and exciting!

For Monday’s livestream, Vogue is charging $1 million for two six-second ad spots, according to Business of Fashion. That’s how big a deal the Met Gala is—often called the Super Bowl of fashion.

Protests and Shifts in Media

Interestingly, while Condé Nast shifts to live events, their employees are protesting planned job cuts—94 to be exact. They even took their protest to Wintour’s street in Greenwich Village. This shift away from remote work to real-life activities seems to be a trend.


Online dating apps are losing favor with Gen Z, who prefer meeting in person. Last week, the FBI warned about “free” online verification services scamming users of dating websites, adding to the pressure on the online dating scene.

Apple’s financial results showed a sharp decline in iPhone sales, the biggest since the pandemic started. But don’t worry—Apple is still one of the world’s richest companies.

A Love for Physical Media

There’s also a growing appreciation for physical media. Graydon Carter, the former editor of Vanity Fair, is opening a magazine shop in New York’s West Village. He’s planning more stores in London and Milan and might even release a physical magazine this year.

“There’s something special about seeing colorful pictures on actual pages and smelling the scent samples in magazines like Vogue,” says Robert Thompson, a media professor at Syracuse University. “You can’t get that on the internet. Some people still want physical media to display proudly on their shelves.”

Between political protests, high-profile court cases, and glamorous fashion events, New Yorkers are realizing that nothing beats real life. “This is New York 2024,” said one longtime resident on Friday. “Bring your own straitjacket.”


Back to Real Life: New York City in 2024

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