As New York state's death toll continues to rise, Irish people living there are hoping the city can "dig deep" just like in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks and Hurricane Sandy.

The coronavirus death toll is creeping towards 5,000 in the state, with around 131,000 cases.

Many living there are hopeful however, as the state’s governor Andrew Cuomo reported yesterday, the daily total of deaths has been "effectively flat for two days".

However New York remains far quieter than normal.

Sinead Naughton, who is originally from New Inn in Co Galway, has lived in New York for 25 years and has two restaurant bars in the heart of the city.

Both premises closed on 16 March, resulting in 40 staff being laid off.

She is concerned for her workers, her customers and her business because, as she says, nobody knows how or when this will end.

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"It’s a very strange time in New York at the minute", said Ms Naughton. "It is a very strange and heartbreaking time.

"I think about our regulars. I think about the people who may not be there when we go back. That sounds so utterly depressing but we don’t know where this will go. We don’t know how this is going to finish", she added.

Irish people in New York are implementing similar measures against the spread of Covid-19 as in Ireland.

Social distancing is key, while essential services continue to operate.

Gavin Manley from Dublin, who works in branding, advertising and marketing, has lived in New York for 18 years and said the city needs to dig deep. 

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Michelle Cyganovich, originally Kavanagh from Dunboyne in Co Meath, is on maternity leave from her job as a fashion designer.

She lives with her four-month-old daughter and her husband near Central Park.

"I work for a fashion company," Ms Cyganovich explained. "My company has put all of their employees on furlough - which means that their jobs will be there for them once everything settles down after Covid-19 and the pandemic.

"Hopefully things will pick up soon and we’ll all be back to work."

She added how her local subway station is quiet and "has nobody coming in or out of it".

She said: "It’s very bizarre. There is no rush hour traffic. We see the odd person I assume are essential workers that would be on the front line." 

Ms Cyganovich’s front door leads on to Central Park West.

"We are right on Central Park. On our daily walk we can see the field hospital that is right in front of Mount Sinai," she said.

Mount Sinai is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the United States. 

"It is a very bad sight to see in New York. Usually, when you see a tent in New York there is a festival on ... or something more positive," the Meath woman added.

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