I think we can all agree that there have been a lot of emotional side effects of quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. One of the ones I was least prepared for was how much I would find myself missing New York City.
So close and yet so very far. That’s how I’ve felt every day of quarantine and social distancing. I am grateful to live in beautiful Brooklyn Heights where I am afforded sweeping views of Manhattan but it has becoming increasingly torturous to look over the river at that skyline – that very famous and very beloved skyline – and not be able to take advantage of all the city holds.
I have known for quite some time now that New York is where I am meant to be. It’s the only place I want to live long term (Paris is a very close second but my preference remains New York with blessed frequent trips to Paris). New York is home to me and has been for nearly ten years now. I’ve lived here nearly 1/3 of my life. It is a city that still moves me, still excites me and still challenges me. Every time I leave New York, I still get those butterflies when I see the skyline upon my return. That’s how I know it is the right place for me to live.
I’ve been quarantining for over a month by now and while I make attempts to fill my heart with doses of New York City with walks outside, it just isn’t the same. The empty streets and the palpable absence of city sounds is a constant reminder that life isn’t normal right now. It is a constant reminder that lives are being lost and lives are at stake. It is a constant reminder that life as we knew it as New Yorkers will never be the same.
I lived in New York during Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath of the way that storm changed the city has stayed with me. I struggle to even begin to think of how Coronavirus will forever change this city. I’m afraid for my favorite small businesses, my favorite coffee shops and bakeries and for my favorite restaurants. I’m sad for myself and all my fellow New Yorkers who have fear and anxiety related to lost work. I think about those in this city who already were fighting for shelter, for employment, for income.
New York is a city woven together of all types of people from all types of backgrounds with all types of dreams and hopes for themselves and their loved ones. This grit, this hope…it is what gives this city the energy that everyone can taste when they arrive here. That energy is the thing that keeps many of us here for the long haul. It’s like the blood running through our veins – it keeps us going.
But that energy, that buzz, that hustle…it’s slowed to a halt for so many. And it’s what has me missing my city.
New York City has been through so much in its existence and it is what teaches us to know we will overcome this pandemic and we will rebuild. New Yorkers are great at uniting for the common good. I truly can’t wait for the days when I can ride the subway again, visit Central Park again, be amongst my fellow New Yorkers again, bask in the movement from neighborhood to neighborhood again. I’ve always loved savoring those special days where there feels like there’s an extra dose of magic in the air in New York City but I know now I’ll never take them for granted ever again. I long for those days to return.
But, as I often feel most days, New York City is still managing to keep me company. I just can’t wait till we return to our date nights again soon.
New York City, I miss you and I love you. I can’t wait to be reunited.