Nearly four years after the coronavirus pandemic hit, New York City is back in many ways.

As of September, New York City had the most jobs ever recorded. Tourism has mostly rebounded, with 62 million visitors last year. Subway ridership is still short of prepandemic levels, but has risen to nearly four million on weekdays. The number of murders fell under 400 last year for the first time since 2019.

Tax revenue projections were $1.3 billion higher than expected for the current fiscal year, allowing Mayor Eric Adams to rescind midyear budget cuts that would have affected nearly every city agency. This year’s Wall Street bonuses are expected to be slightly higher than last year’s, according to the state comptroller’s office, which would funnel more tax revenue to the city than expected.

“We’re not surviving — we are thriving in this city,” Mr. Adams said at a recent news conference celebrating the city’s strong bond rating.

The recovery of New York City, the nation’s financial capital, is critical to the American economy and to the eight million people who call the city home.

But the recovery is incomplete and uneven. Multibillion-dollar budget deficits loom in each of the next few years, in part because of the migrant influx that city officials say will cost $10 billion over three years. Office building vacancies are still plentiful in a new era of hybrid work.

And in many parts of New York, especially among the working class, it does not feel like the city is back on its feet. The poverty rate has soared to 23 percent, up from 18 percent in 2021. Demand for food stamps and cash assistance has surged. The housing crunch is the worst it has been in more than 50 years, with a rental vacancy rate of only 1.4 percent. Even life expectancy remained below prepandemic levels, according to the Health Department.

Roughly 41 percent of voters were “very dissatisfied” with the way things were going in New York City, according to a Quinnipiac University poll in December — the highest level since the poll began asking voters that question in 1997.

The next year will reveal the durability of the recovery and shed more light on Mr. Adams’s priorities as he confronts the city’s many pressing challenges, including managing the arrival of more than 180,000 migrants and the end of generous federal pandemic aid.

Many business leaders have been pleased by the city’s economic rebound, and the mayor’s focus on public safety and stimulating the city’s economy, even as concerns over the commercial real estate industry persist. They share Mr. Adams’s view that helping businesses thrive is essential to the city’s comeback.

“The only way we’re going to be able to support the increase in people on public assistance and the costs of the migrant crisis is if we continue to see economic growth in the city,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a business group. “The mayor has to be a reassuring champion of the city’s future.”

On this front, the mayor has given mixed messages. Mr. Adams, a Democrat, was elected partly by accentuating everything that was wrong with New York City, including a surge in crime during the pandemic. Even as mayor, he has been known for gloomy assessments like his warning that the migrant crisis would “destroy New York City.”

In recent months, Mr. Adams has begun to strongly emphasize the positive. “I can say with confidence, New York City isn’t coming back — New York City is back,” he said at a news conference last week.

But some of the city’s economic achievements tell a more nuanced story.

The median rent for an apartment in Manhattan has steadily increased, to $4,150 in January, up 1.3 percent from the year before — a trend that conveys confidence in the city’s future, but also underscores the affordability crisis.

Even with more people physically returning to work, the office occupancy rate is still roughly 50 percent of prepandemic levels by one measure, raising alarm in the commercial real estate industry. The city’s hotel occupancy rate rose by 6.6 percentage points last year, the largest gain in the nation among major markets, according to an industry study. But some of that increase comes from the city’s use of hotels for migrants, accounting for roughly 16,000 rooms.

And while the city gained 54,900 private sector jobs last year, much of the growth has been in low-wage sectors, like home health aides, and most wage gains have been for the highest earners, said James Parrott, the director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

“The economic rebound we’ve had hasn’t been one that’s lifted all boats,” Mr. Parrott said.

Mr. Adams, who is running for re-election next year and facing a federal investigation into his campaign fund-raising, has insisted that he is focused on working class New Yorkers. He has highlighted an expansion of earned-income tax credits and child care vouchers, among other policies.

Charles Lutvak, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement that Mr. Adams was setting the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.

“We have always been clear that there is more work to do, and our administration is continuing to deliver progress so that hard-working New Yorkers feel the benefits of a safer, more prosperous, and more livable city,” he said.

Difficult decisions loom. Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller, said in a new report on Thursday that while the city’s economic outlook had improved, its budget gaps were higher than the city’s forecasts at $11.3 billion in 2026.

“New York City’s finances were boosted by better-than-projected revenues and planned savings, but out-year budget gaps are still large and tough choices remain ahead to fund essential education programs and social services,” he said.

Some New Yorkers fear that Mr. Adams will continue to cut funds for essential city services, especially those most relied on by lower-income families like free preschool and libraries. He had called for severe midyear budget reductions to the police, fire, education, parks and sanitation departments, but rescinded some of those cuts in January when the city’s tax revenue came in higher than projected.

Andrew Rein, the president of the Citizens Budget Commission, an independent fiscal watchdog, said that the city still needed to “rein in spending,” and called for Mr. Adams to have an “honest and transparent discussion” with New Yorkers about what services must be curtailed or ended.

More than 50 percent of working families in New York City cannot afford to pay for their basic needs, according to a recent report by the Fund for the City of New York and United Way. Evictions are rising again.

City agencies are short staffed, leading to troubling delays. Only 14 percent of applications for cash assistance were processed within the legally mandated 30-day window during a four-month period last year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report. The timeliness rate was more than 95 percent in 2019. The mayor’s office announced on Monday that it had significantly reduced the delays after hiring 1,000 staffers since January 2023 to process applications.

There is also the question of whether New Yorkers feel safe. The city has seen a drop in murders that is part of a national trend, though some crime categories are still high, including car thefts.

In the West Bronx, a predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood that Mr. Adams won in the 2021 Democratic primary, residents liked the mayor’s message and “see themselves” in his working-class upbringing, said Pierina Sanchez, a city councilwoman.

But they are also worried about violence and quality of life. A man was killed recently in the subway in Ms. Sanchez’s district. A 1-year-old died in September after being exposed to fentanyl at a home day care. There are also concerns over school budget cuts and the mayor’s refusal to expand a housing voucher program intended to reduce homelessness.

It’s counterintuitive,” Ms. Sanchez said of the mayor’s stance on housing vouchers. “We voted for you en masse. You say you represent us. We need this, and you’re not supportive of it.”

At Montefiore Square, a park in West Harlem, neighbors are frustrated about open-air drug dealing and the grounds littered with used hypodermic needles and trash.

At a recent community meeting about the conditions at the park, several residents said they were fearful of the area. Cary Rose, the captain of the 30th Precinct, said officers had been present at the park almost 700 times from January to late February in an effort to address the problems there.

Local businesses are forming a merchants association because they are worried about violence, said Quenia Abreu, president of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She said she was nearly hit in the head with a bat recently when two men began fighting near a Dunkin’ across from the park.

Shaun Abreu, a local councilman who campaigned with Mr. Adams at the park, said the mayor’s upbeat message of “crime is down and jobs are up” did not reflect reality.

“In West Harlem, Mr. Abreu said, “I don’t think that message would resonate.”

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