King St, Newtown (Image: Wikimedia)

On Friday night, the first signs of buzz are returning to King St, Newtown. Since March, one of Sydney’s busiest strips has been a ghostly shadow of its normally bustling, chaotic self, the weekend punters replaced by a cavalry of delivery riders. 

But this weekend, things are looking better. Nature is healing. There’s a sense King St is starting to retain its lost energy, starting to feel almost busy. More people are picking up their own food. There are fewer cops around (and fewer people being fined). The inexplicable but ubiquitous queue outside the Italian Bowl has returned -- for takeaway only.

Blink and you might miss the signs of the protracted crisis we’re still living through -- the shuttered bars, the lack of obnoxious drunks, the hollowed-out restaurants that will never see the other side.