W42ST Daily 6/13/2020

Of course I want New York to open up. I want businesses to get back to work (not least my own) and the economy to begin the agonizing crawl to something resembling health. I want to go back to the gym. And the theater. And sit at a bar flirting with a sexy bartender. I want all of those things and more. 

But I was cycling home to Hell’s Kitchen from the Village last night, through the deserted streets, an eerily bright but silent Times Square flashing its obscene billboards, oblivious to the pain and death and despair of the last three months. And I wanted to cling to that moment, like clinging to a lover you already know is planning to leave you. I want to cherish hearing the birds in the morning, instead of the angry, impatient honking of horns. (Below: actual footage of me getting dressed this morning.)

New York is a calmer, healthier, more beautiful place under lockdown. And while I recognize that the affair is over, we’ve had a sweet taste of what could be.

On Wednesday, Transportation Alternatives is hosting a conversation about the international movement to reclaim street space from cars. Register to find out how open streets can make our cities greener, safer, and more equitable. And what we can do to make that happen.

When Kristen Jongen was growing up in northern Michigan, the community-run boaters’ safety class was imperative for teen social climbing (they could get a boaters’ permit at the tender age of 14). Among the lessons learned was the fact that, while you could throw the throttle of a speeding Master Craft into neutral to avoid a calamity, abruptly stopping didn’t mean the wake behind you couldn’t still sink the boat.

When she first got sober, she was reminded of that metaphor. She thought her life would fix itself because she’d stopped drinking. But the tsunami of wreckage from her past demanded a reckoning.

Is the world going through the same kind of detox, she wonders? COVID-19 has stopped us in our tracks and forced us to take a lucid look around. From the terror of a global pandemic to financial despair and the stark reality of George Floyd’s murder, a tidal wave of unfinished business has threatened to capsize us. Will we stay afloat? Here’s what she thinks.

Support these black-owned businesses in Hell’s Kitchen: Queen of Sheba (ridiculously good Ethiopian food), Massage Envy (we’re all going to need some help with those knots when we get out of this), Fresh From Hell (juices, salads, and – my personal favorite – a toasted sprouted bagel with home-made cashew cream cheese and marinated cucumber YAAAAAAS!), Maison 10 (for a curated collection of art, jewelry, candles, bags, and gorgeous things), and Little Pie Company (it’s Sarah Jessica Parker’s Thanksgiving go-to for a reason). Thanks to those who have added to that list with Rostelle shoe repair, and Meske Ethiopian restaurant on W47th St – 9th/10th Ave. If you know of any others, let me know.

Remember last summer? Remember doing yoga in the park? This isn’t quite the same, but it’s as close as we’re going to get this year. At 11am, Malorie Bryant leads a yoga flow class via Zoom. It’s free – just register here.

Getting out on the water in a kayak or on a SUP is about the closest you can get to social distancing without locking yourself in your apartment. And this weekend is the perfect weather for it. There are classes today, and skyline tours next week that even novice paddlers can join. Find out more here.

The last few months have been hard on all of us – financially, emotionally, physically. One thing we’ve come to truly value is the importance of community – “our” people. Thank you for all your messages of love, support, and laughter – you’ve been a lifeline.

Some of you have asked if you can help financially. And, while it’s hard to ask when so many are struggling, if you are in a position to support us, any contribution, no matter how small, will help ensure the survival of W42ST.