Weather: A winter weather advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Light snow is expected through this evening with clear skies returning Saturday.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended through Saturday for snow operations.

New York City’s transit system has avoided “doomsday” — for now.

For months, bus and subway services faced the prospect of draconian cuts as the pandemic plunged the system into a financial crisis. But on Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a bit of good news: Major reductions would be avoided through 2022.

Still, without more federal aid the agency faces an $8 billion deficit over the next four years and the possibility of future cuts in service.

“The bottom line is we are not out of the woods,” said Andrew Rein, the president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a financial watchdog. “But we can see the light through the trees.”

[Read more about the outlook for public transit services.]

Here are three things you need to know:

Subway service slashed by 40 percent. Commuter rail service cut in half. The potential for as many as 450,000 jobs in the region to be wiped away.

Those losses, among others, had seemed imminent. But an infusion of federal aid and better-than-expected tax revenues have helped steady the system’s finances and provided more money for day-to-day operations — meaning those reductions can be avoided for the next two years. (A potential 4 percent fare hike had already been postponed.)

The M.T.A. board approved a plan on Thursday to raise tolls at agency-controlled bridges and tunnels and use those funds for public transit.

In all, the agency expects to commit at least $6.2 billion to improvements this year, according to my colleague Christina Goldbaum. Those improvements include maintenance, new signals and accessibility projects.

[How 7 mayoral hopefuls plan to fix the subway.]

Aspects of a sweeping $54 billion plan to modernize the system that was suspended when the pandemic hit will also be revived this year, officials told Ms. Goldbaum.

Despite the short-term relief, officials and watchdogs warn that the full extent of the pandemic’s impact on the agency remains uncertain. Before the outbreak, about five million riders used the subway on weekdays. Now, that figure has fallen to about 1.6 million — and it is unclear when or if ridership and fare revenues will return to pre-pandemic levels.

And if they do not bounce back by 2024 the agency may cut subway and bus service to adjust to the new normal, officials said Thursday.

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The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

During the pandemic, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

On Friday at 7 p.m., watch the Catalyst Quartet perform compositions by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, as part of the ensemble’s “Uncovered” project.

R.S.V.P. for free at the event page.

Join the New York Adventure Club in a webinar about the legacy of drive-in movie theaters in America on Friday at 8 p.m. Led by the writer and director April Wright, a post-talk Q. and A. will follow.

Purchase a ticket ($10) on the event page.

On Saturday at 4 p.m., travel back to 1874 and visit Schneider’s Saloon in the Lower East Side as part of the tours at the Tenement Museum.

Purchase a ticket ($15) on the event page. Registration is free for members through this form.

It’s Friday — T.G.I.F.

Dear Diary:

My daily workout for a while now has been a brisk three-mile walk around the Upper West Side at 7 a.m.

One of the many great things about New York City is that you can get a glimpse into people’s lives by looking at their windows.

It makes you think about who they are and what they do. In my mind, all of these people are my neighbors and my friends and I feel like we are all in this together.

One of my favorite apartments is on West End Avenue because it is on the ground floor and has so many windows. Some mornings there is a cat in one of the windows; at other times, I can see people moving around inside.

During the holidays, a Christmas tree had been put up in the apartment. I loved seeing it every morning as I passed by. One morning when I walked past and looked at the windows, I saw a man standing there.

He was waving at me.

— Sarah Maurer

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at

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