My spirits have improved immensely since I’ve decided that it’s time for me to resume as much normalcy as possible with my NYC activities. I’ve started to ride the subway again. I’m meeting family and friends indoors in restaurants. That activity, by itself, would have significantly raised my endorphins, since being together with people in person is so much better than seeing them on a Zoom screen. I did previously visit museums and pulled down my mask in uncrowded exhibit spaces. So that, at least, has been an ongoing activity.
The only pre-pandemic activity I still haven’t resumed is going to the theater or to a movie. Seats are close together in many NYC theaters and I’d want to wear a mask. Unfortunately, I get very uncomfortable wearing a mask indoors for more than about 60 minutes. I’m sure I’ll attempt that eventually, but I’m not quite ready to be maskless in theaters just yet.
I really and truly love experiencing New York City again. And, for whatever it’s worth, the subway does look cleaner. Unfortunately, homelessness persists. As does the presence, occasionally, of someone who seems a bit mentally unhinged. The good news is that there does seem to be a heightened police presence. So, at least for now, I feel relatively safe. Fingers crossed, NYC continues to improve and I can completely resume the life I (and maybe many of us) took for granted before March 2020.
Before the pandemic, I took the subway in NYC all the time. It was always my first choice for transportation. Then there was the pandemic. If I needed to leave my neighborhood during the pandemic (usually only for a doctor’s appointment or the occasional Covid shot), I would resort to a bus or, sometimes, a taxi. Taxis have a very reassuring plastic barrier between the front seat and the backseat. As a senior citizen, I really appreciated that. It wasn’t that I was that concerned about Covid transmission on the train, since I knew ridership would be way down. I was much more concerned about crime. Fewer riders to me meant more possibilities for criminal behavior.
Since March 2020, and with all the dramatic news stories involving subway incidents, that concern hasn’t dissipated at all. I’ve spoken to some friends and acquaintances, who are also senior citizens, who don’t have any problem riding the subway. Although some said they’d seen passengers on the trains and platforms who looked a bit “unstable,” they said they were “harmless”.
I’m not sure I can summon the courage to see for myself and am wondering what it’s going to take to get me to go down those subway stairs again.
I don’t know about you but the past few months seem to me to have been full of even more bad news than usual. I was, and am, devastated by the stories and photographs coming out of Ukraine and this senseless war brought on by an autocrat. Add to that, there have been some extremely disturbing stories of New Yorkers who’ve been shot or knifed for no reason at all. And now we have the horrific news of the racist shooting at the supermarket in Buffalo and the unbelievable shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. It’s interesting that Covid has been pushed out of the front part of my brain now, where it occupied a center seat for the past 2 years. I suppose that’s one benefit from all this otherwise gutting news.
I think often of how my parents must have felt watching the world spin out of control during the Great Depression and, later, Hitler’s advance through Europe. I suppose they did not have the relentless 24-hour news cycle and all the devices which keep us in constant touch with the headlines.
I have a group of friends who recently shared how they cope with all this. The answers were interesting. One person said she only listens to one newscast a day, the evening news at 11:00 pm. Another said she takes very long walks. A third said she cries. At this time, none of those remedies are ones I’ll adopt. But I don’t have any others. So my fate is simply to be very upset and wonder how this gets better.