It’s Good to Be Back, NYC!

I’m back riding the subway again!

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.

NYC and Covid

Except for a few years spent in England and New Haven, CT, I’ve lived in NYC all my life. I also spent all of the past year during the pandemic here — hunkered down on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. I tried to walk every day, weather permitting, but almost all of my masked walks were within 2 miles of my apartment.

It was truly painful and depressing to see the storefronts becoming vacant on any of my walks along the commercial streets of the Upper West Side. Mercifully, I haven’t seen too many new ones becoming dark in the past few months. The greatest decline seemed to happen in the spring and summer last year, as New York City was struggling with Covid. At times, that struggle almost seemed like a death spiral.

Things definitely seem to be on the upswing now that at least about a quarter of us are vaccinated and there’s the current promise of more vaccines and much expanded vaccination appointments.

The American Rescue Plan Act is also a significant life preserver in many categories, including offering meaningful small business assistance.

I hope that the next Mayor of the City prioritizes its economic revival. It would be nice to have a bustling city again.