Good morning and happy Friday. On Sunday evening we met with friends at a small local restaurant, we chatted for a few hours about anything and everything — but remarkably not a word was mentioned about COVID. For me, that might have been the first time in 21 months that the topic has not slipped into dinner chat.

However, this week, the issue has raced back to the top of all conversations. I now personally know more than 5 people with COVID, all vaccinated, some boosted. It’s hard to keep up and know what to do.

W42ST’s promise from the start of the pandemic (and this daily newsletter) is to keep our readers connected, updated and upbeat. Hit reply and let us know how we can help to do that. We expect that many of you will be staying home — if you are ordering in food, please order locally and not via third-party apps like Seamless. There are over 250 Hell’s Kitchen businesses that will need support on the W42ST Local App — and all links go directly to them.

Lines are long and tempers short as New Yorkers line up — some for hours — to receive COVID tests as infections surge, fueled by highly contagious variants. More here…

Ten years ago this summer, Gary Hershorn was working as a news photographer documenting the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “It was a summer filled with walking up and down the Hudson River in New Jersey, chasing the light, attempting to show off a New York City that was finally getting back to being itself; beautiful and majestic, a city of the world,” Gary remembers. “One World Trade Center was under construction; the skyline of Manhattan was about to change forever, once more. And I was at the center of it, making pictures to document a city, rising from its own ashes.”

Ten years on, he is a moon chaser. He is up before dawn to capture the sunrise and in the evening selecting his spot at dusk to photograph the sunset. He sees storms as opportunities for cloudscapes and lightning strikes. His camera is focused on New York City.

We asked Gary to share a selection of his images from 2021. “I hope when people look at my pictures, they feel a connection not only to the greatest city in the world, but to every human of this world, and the universe above and beyond,” he said. Pictures here to brighten your day…


What we’ve been reading

Chef Dani Garcia is back in New York with a restaurant at Manhattan West. (Eater)

City and State plan to work together on homeless vouchers. (amNY)

Tap-and-go subway riders could get an unlimited ride option. (Gothamist)

Report reveals some of NYC’s sanitation workers earning over $100k in overtime. (IB Times)

Are the outdoor dining sheds causing an increase in New York’s rat problems? (BBC)

Freeze Frame

Who doesn’t like to see their name in lights on W42nd Street? “My job is pretty magical,” said Kiara Brown (who many of you will know from Hold Fast). She’s also part of the Disney on Broadway team. Sarah Kenny, who took the picture and is also part of the Disney crew, said: “They looped all our names every hour on the hour today. Including teaching artists! Brightened so many days! Not gonna lie, it feels pretty good to see your name in lights. Proud to work with some of the most driven, compassionate, and thoughtful people in the biz. Broadway’s back; now let’s make it better than ever before.”