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Map of restaurants visited pre-lockdown and post-lockdown

As a first semester data analysis and visualization student I was eager to get started on this assignment as it would be a great way to see if everything I have read and learned from my visualization class has stuck with me. My software of choice is Tableau and below is a collection of maps of restaurants I have visited prior to lockdown and post lockdown, spanning from January 2019 to March 2020 and June 2020 to September 2020, respectively. Thanks to Yelp, Google Maps, bank statements, Venmo, and Cash App, and just the old handy-dandy method of writing down recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues, I was able to just about map all the restaurants I have visited within the last year. Writing the Excel spreadsheets with all the restaurant names, addresses, geo-coordinates, and the type of food they served was already a tedious task and took up a good bulk of time to complete.

Once the spreadsheets were completed it was off to Tableau to get my maps. Tableau is a great mapping tool since it has a somewhat easy learning curve and the drag and drop nature of the program lets you choose your variables with a click of a button. Then it is all up to the user to choose which visualization they want to proceed with. One problem I did run into however was when it was time to create the dashboard. I am not sure if it is either user error or if it is part of Tableau, but you cannot create two separate dashboards from two separate sources under the same workbook. After playing around with the settings to see if I can find a way to work around this hurdle, I decided two create two separate dashboards and call it a day. I then realized I should do the same for Excel which I did. The initial setup in my head did not go quiet as planned but I was still able to come out with four visualizations that I am proud of.

While meticulously copying and pasting the geo-coordinates of the restaurants onto the spreadsheet, I found that a few of them have either permanently shut down or relocated outside of the five boroughs. Reading all of that placed a damper on my mood. These were places I went out with friends, co-workers, family, dates, and have made solid memories sharing experiences with them at these restaurants. Immediately after, I turned to my phone and scrolled through a few photos I have taken at these places. Most of them are of the food or drinks but the few shots of me and the person I was catching up with brought back fond memories.

Although outdoor dining is a great way to bring in revenue for these businesses it can only do so much before the cold weather starts to set in. I know I have read news articles about indoor dining returning to New York sometime in October but with only a 25% seating capacity. There is going to be some tough times ahead these businesses if the bulk of the hospitality industry is still left behind. I sympathize for the workers because I am one of them and was out of work for a good chunk of spring and into the summer. If anything I suggest you go out and visit the more local stores, the ones that are family based with that mom and pop shop feel to them; I believe they are the ones that will need the most help. Only time will tell what will happen to these places but all we can do now is mitigate the spread by following the guidelines imposed by the health care professionals. Hopefully us as students can return back to in-person sessions of classes and connect with one another in spaces once again such as restaurants, parks, and large events by next year.

3 thoughts on “Map of restaurants visited pre-lockdown and post-lockdown

  1. Elena Abou Mrad

    I really like these maps, @fcastro! I immediately went in to check if you visited any restaurants in my neighborhood (Sweet Chick is great!). I also appreciated that you described your process not only in technical terms, but also with your feelings about restaurants shutting down. These maps would be a great tool to encourage people to support their local businesses! 🙂

  2. Brianna Caszatt (she/her/hers)

    I’m so glad you mapped this Freddy! It’s definitely something I’ve also been curious about, how food/restaurant culture–something that feels so fundamental to NYC–has changed because of COVID. The sheer array of food represented in NYC has always been one of my favorite parts of living here, and being able to “travel” through food.

  3. Faihaa Khan

    Viewing your map has brought back so many great memories for me as well! A lot of the locations you have are ones that I have also had the pleasure of visiting. Hovering over each point unlocked a different image in my brain of hanging out with those dearest to me. I’m always on the lookout for new restaurants and cafe’s so I’ll definitely be referring back to your map for recommendations.

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