We are now, as of March 2021, one full year under quarantine. And it has been a lot. Like really, a lot to deal with. Living in New York was ground zero for the beginning of the pandemic in the United States made this last year particularly surreal. I’m still reeling in certain situations to this new normal. But being shoulders deep in this chaos has got me thinking about what effect all of this has had on my daily life in NYC. And even though I thought my hard-earned New York skin had gotten thicker because of it, I do believe that some things have changed for the better since quarantine.
Owning A Stoop Has Gotten A Bit Easier
On a weekly basis for the first eight months of this quarantine, the national news media would weekly remind the country that people were leaving the city en masse to head for “safer” places.
For a born and bred New Yorker, seeing transplants leave who were only living here for a “Sex and the City” or “Girls” reality really didn’t phase me because they weren’t staying anyway. Millionaires, celebrities, and hipsters weren’t what make NYC what it is. What makes it so special is the richness of its many cultures. So when I started hearing that more and more properties went on sale and that their highly inflated asking prices were falling. I told every one of my friends that it’s time to start looking for an upgrade if you can afford it. If you were one of the locals who have outgrown your current living space, whether it was because of gaining a partner or a child and thought that you’d have to leave NYC to own then the tide has turned for you. Sought after neighborhoods have become more affordable and ownership with good planning has become possible.
Exploring Your Neighborhoods
Before lockdown, we were all in a constant rush to go somewhere. Somewhere could’ve been the next state, the next country, or even the next borough. But the focus on staying safe and socially distant has veered people’s thinking to being close to home and how can I entertain myself within a ten-mile radius. New Yorkers have picked up bicycling in record numbers so they can travel with little risk and get their exercise. We’ve supported local businesses more and discovered new ones we never would’ve seen on our way to work. Quarantine has forced us to remember how to live on more of a community level instead of running home and living behind our collective doors.
I mean, of course, we shopped online too, but we became more mindful while shopping. Supporting Chinatown, Harlem, Flushing, Flatbush, and other culturally rich neighborhoods let us see the benefits of supporting small businesses.
We Are Giving Like Never Before
We focused like never before on helping others. Food pantries, meals on wheels, churches, and clothing donations have all seen a rise in contributions. Even if we couldn’t physically donate our time to be there in person, we donated in other ways like tutoring online electronics to children in need of tablets and laptops. New Yorkers are definitely not as heartless as we are perceived to be.
Creativity Has Been Off The Charts
We baked loaves of bread; we sipped and painted; we learned to sew; we cooked; we grew amazing home gardens; we meditated; we created street art and we hiked. If we couldn’t flex physically, we flexed emotionally or creatively. Pressure creates diamonds, right? And even I baked and cooked more in the last year than I have in the previous five. I admittedly was so burnt out as I had become with blogging and social media, I found a new way to pivot and replenish by switching my mindset from travel to food to nourish my creative streak in another way.
We Became Activists
Black Lives Matter could have never picked up steam in the same way if we weren’t all forced to sit down and contemplate systematic racism and watch dozens of videos of the examples of black death. The largest voter turnout in a generation could not have happened if we weren’t consuming news of the day uninterrupted for hours at a time while distracted by our habits. And now our social media spotlights on Asian hate crimes when the media refused to shine its own and give this community the attention it deserves.
The allyship, although not promised to remain consistent without continued effort by accepting what the Black community had been saying was going on for generations, truthfully exists. And using your non-Black voice to bring it to the forefront of the conversation. All these issues were just festering until we decided to take notice while life slowed down.
Did you notice other things that you think changed and made New York City that much better during quarantine? Tell me about it in the comments. Let’s keep talking.
Until our next rendezvous..