As amazing and magical as New York City is, it can get a bad rep from outside perspectives, especially after seeing articles about many who have left and relocated since the pandemic began. Scott and I hear all of the negatives about living in Brooklyn from our loved ones who aren’t seeing everything first-hand, so I thought it would be nice to share a peek into what life is really like in this environment right now.
This blog post was actually inspired by my mom, who is in town visiting us this week. She lives in Florida, which has now greatly surpassed the total number of cases in both New York (state) and New York City, according to the CDC. So, her saying that she wasn’t sure if she felt safe here before she arrived really surprised me.
I shared a bit about what life is like here during the COVID-19 pandemic back in May, so I figured it was time for an update. Here we go!
The high cost of living, the crowded streets, the trash bags on the street, the sometimes frustrating subway system, the limited outdoor and storage space, and the high population of both people and rodents isn’t exactly glamorous. I get that, and I totally feel it some days. Those are not my favorite things. But, there are also negative things about other areas of the country and world that could compare in different ways. It’s all relative.
I could go on about this subject, but check out these posts I’ve already written instead:
That said, our plan to live in Brooklyn remains until we can’t or don’t want to do it anymore. And right now … it really isn’t that bad at all. It’s actually pretty peaceful, refreshing, and cool to see the community and culture push through.
We are now in Phase 4 of reopening, but we are still under additional restrictions than most of the country that include outdoor-only seating at restaurants, limited indoor shopping (only large essential retailers like Target, drug stores and grocery stores are open along with services like hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors, etc. with strict guidelines), and absolutely no access to gyms whatsoever. Gyms will hopefully be allowed to open with limited capacity, face masks, and strict guidelines later this month.
Most restaurants have reopened with makeshift outdoor seating in the street, and I think it’s really cool that our city is going al fresco. Small businesses are doing what they have to do to survive (including building new and elaborate outdoor dining decks), and I’m here for it. We don’t dine out often, but when we do, it’s always at a place where we feel safely distanced from others with safety protocols in place. And I must say that the act of going out for a meal instead of cooking has become quite the appreciated luxury.
(I was very impressed with this new outdoor booth situation, covered with each table separated by plexiglass to make patrons feel safe and welcomed. Many nearby restaurants in our area have done similar set ups.)
Our churches, movie theaters, and malls are still closed, but the low-risk outdoor activities like zoos, gardens, historical sites, and parks have opened. Playgrounds are also open, which is a huge game-changer for us!
Most kids wear masks, but not all. Every single adult, however, is in a face covering on a playground … and it’s awesome to see.
All phases of reopening require New Yorkers to adhere to social distancing guidelines, including wearing a mask or face covering in crowded public spaces (it was required by law at all times in NYC in earlier phases), and on public or private transportation like cabs or Uber/Lyft rides.
If I had to guess, I would say that I see about 8 out of 10 people wearing masks in our area. I’d even stretch that to say 9 out of 10. While it’s not required by law anymore, it is considered to be socially responsible and the right thing to do by anyone I run into. It’s just what we do, and our declining numbers in daily cases may or may not have something to do with that.
Just like many other places in the country, there have been some scary times. We’ve had riots. We’ve seen the aftermath of looting. We’ve seen rows and streets of businesses with wood paneling on the windows for protection, heavily policed areas at big gathering spots, and graffiti with derogatory and political language more than ever. We’ve had an 8 p.m. curfew. We’ve heard helicopters circling our city for hours and hours at night for weeks at a time. It all seems pretty insane when you stop and think about it.
But, I do have to add that I never really experienced the rioting and looting. I saw protests, and I even participated in some peaceful kid-friendly marches with Skyler. They were completely safe and showed the most community support that I’ve been a part of. I adhered to the curfew when that was set for a week or so, and our city got a little more back to normal. Things have calmed down quite a bit since then, and I feel completely safe walking around in those same “targeted” areas during the daytime that used to have an army of police on standby.
So what is life during the pandemic in NYC right now? I listed the restrictions above, and beyond that … it feels like a really, really long and weird staycation. You know, if you take away most of the activities and fun events of being on a vacation and limit daily outings. We have access to everything we need, and think it’s best to stay put for a while.
Right now, we are focusing on what the next few weeks look like at a time and are enjoying the ride as much as we can. As things begin to open again, we are starting to (safely) explore what we can and are trying to appreciate our surroundings. Because we all know how quickly they can go away!
I concentrate on little things that make me happy and keep me sane right now, and that always includes some fresh air outside and movement. I took an almost seven mile run (with some stopping and walking) with my mom yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed our jog through our neighborhood in Park Slope, along with Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, and Dumbo. It wasn’t anything that she expected, and I was happy to hear that she felt completely safe and pleasantly surprised by the entire experience.
Like I mentioned above, she prompted this post today by saying so many of her friends and even some of my other family members thought she was crazy for coming up here! (She flew here from Michigan after being quarantined there for two weeks, so I’m thankful that she’s able to be out and about with us.)
New York City can be a beautiful place to be, even during this crazy time, and I hope this post offers an inside perspective that might make you think twice before judging it. We are okay and are doing well here!
Until next time, we’ll be here doing what everyone else is … our best, one day at a time.
Thanks for checking in!