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W42ST Daily 4/23/2020

A LETTER FROM F SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK

Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us.

I weep for the damned eventualities this future brings. The long afternoons rolling forward slowly on the ever-slick bottomless highball. Z. says it’s no excuse to drink, but I just can’t seem to steady my hand. And yet, amongst the cracked cloudline of an evening’s cast, I focus on a single strain of light, calling me forth to believe in a better morrow.

Faithfully yours,

F Scott Fitzgerald

OK, let’s ignore the fact that this letter, now going viral, was not actually written by Fitzgerald at all (dammit), but is a convincing and entertaining work of parody perfect for this limpid, dreary day. Let’s focus, instead, on the lost art of letter writing which, like playing old vinyl, drive-in movies, and home cooking, is now making a comeback.

My friend, Diana, who works in a senior living facility on the UWS, is connecting residents – who are currently denied visitors, and restricted to their rooms 24/7 – with pen pals across the city. 

All you need to do to get started is choose one of the prompts and share a little bit about yourself in writing. It’ll make their day!
 

What things from today will only be seen in a museum 100 years from now?  What would make people happier if they did more of it?  What is something you recommend doing the old-fashioned way? 
Mail your letter to Diana Kusko, 333 W86th St, New York, NY 10024 and she’ll match you with a resident. It’s as simple as that. You might even discover a new best friend.

There are many other ways to volunteer at this time of need. If you know of one, please let me know and I’ll get the word out.


SPREAD THE LOVE
We’re all about NOT spreading things around right now. But if you’re enjoying our weekly newsletter – if it’s bringing you a little joy in these dark times and helping you feel connected to your neighbors as social distancing becomes the new normal – good news: we’re now daily! Sign up below to stay updated and upbeat every morning. Tell your friends too. We’re stronger together. 

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NEW YORK STORIES 
The very belly of Hell’s Kitchen is under threat, as independent restaurants struggle to survive. Here’s how you can help (hint: it includes NOT ordering from Seamless). Read on at w42st.com. Our home page is also home to a list of out-of-work bartenders and other workers in the neighborhood – give them a tip.


DO THESE THINGS
Have lunch with Kuhoo Verma
The actor takes over Signature Theatre’s Instagram Live at midday for conversation and a Q&A. Grab a sandwich here.

See the stars
The Intrepid Museum hosts its first ever Virtual Astronomy Live event this afternoon, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hubble telescope – and learning a thing or two from former astronauts about living in isolation. Find out more.

Go to a gala
For the next three weeks, the 52nd Street Project is running a virtual gala, hosted by Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale, with stars including Edie Falco and Annaleigh Ashford performing songs written by young project members. Find out more.

Learn to vogue from a legend
Omari Wiles – founding father of the House of Oricci – teaches a virtual introduction to vogue this evening. Get ready to work! 

Think pink
Take a trip back in time tonight, as 54 Below Sings Legally Blonde, with Carrie St Louis leading a cast in the music of the 2007, seven time Tony-nominated hit musical. Watch it here. 

Dance the blues … solo
A virtual dance lesson and DJ set aimed at loosening up and shaking out your body. Start dancing here.


NAME GAME
You’re quarantined with the entire cast of the last show you binge watched …

I’ll go first. Hey everyone, my name’s Ruth, and I’m at home with Schitt’s Creek. It’s a bit cramped, but we’re having fun. How about you?

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