It’s OK to be scared.

It’s OK to be confused.

It’s OK to be energized and fired up, or exhausted and overwhelmed, frozen in place, unable to move or make a decision.

It’s OK to be freaking TF out about rent and lost wages and unpaid tax. And it’s OK to still be in a secure job when your friends aren’t.

It’s OK to be exercising every day, or not at all; to be eating Tostitos for every meal, or experimenting with exotic new recipes.

It’s OK if you’re going outside and practicing social distancing, and it’s OK if you haven’t left your apartment for four weeks and have only spoken to your plants in the last 48 hours.

It’s OK if you’re waking at 3am in a blind panic, fear gripping your chest, struggling to breathe (and isn’t breathlessness a symptom of COVID-19? Shit!!!).

It’s OK if you’re feeling creative; if you’re filling your days reading and writing and learning and growing. If you’re bingeing on mindless TV and playing Words With Friends, that’s OK too.

Maybe you’re taking time for self-care; maybe you’re forging ahead with new projects. Maybe you are all of these things and more at different times of the day or week. It’s all OK – we all deal with crises differently. But let’s not shame others because their coping mechanisms are different from ours. And let’s not judge ourselves too harshly when we’re surprised by how we’re dealing with life’s big, fat (flatten the) curveball. We’re so much better than that.

Let’s be kind to ourselves and our neighbors. Let’s show compassion, recognize that we’re all grieving, and lift each other up. OK?

He’s survived financial woes, gang warfare, kidney failure, cancer, and Joan Rivers’ acidic wit. You can’t, it seems, keep Steve Olsen down

Read the full story of how the West Bank Cafe became a neighborhood classic – and how it’s surviving the current crisis – at

Many of you have asked what you can do to get involved. Here are some ideas: 

1. Tell us your self-isolation survival hacks. And send us photographs (or videos) of how you’re making the most of your days. 

2. Talk to us. Say thank you. Say hi. Say you haven’t showered or worn pants in a week. We want to hear from you – we’re feeling isolated too.

3. Encourage five of your friends to sign up to this newsletter – those numbers will make a huge difference to our business (and our egos).

Thank you! Hell’s Kitchen, we love you.



Attend a music festival from your couch
All week, Live from our Living Rooms will see musicians like Chick Corea perform from their homes. It’s donation based, and all proceeds go towards providing emergency relief to New York musicians whose careers have been impacted by COVID-19. Find out more.

Get all tied up
My friend, dominatrix Mistress Nina Payne, is leading a free Intro to Bondage workshop tomorrow. I mean, seriously, what else would you be doing on a Wednesday night under social isolation? Don’t worry – she’ll be gentle with you! Find out more.

Watch world class theater
I get it. We’re all missing Broadway like crazy. And while watching live theater from our TVs isn’t the same thing, it’s the best we can do right now. The National Theatre is streaming shows like One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden, and Twelfth Night with Tamsin Greig every Thursday on its You Tube channel. Find out more.

Don’t go killing each other
What does the new normal mean for our relationships? And how can we move forward at this time of uncertainty and grief? Sex ad relationships guru Esther Perel (her podcast, Where Should We Begin?, is transformative!) is leading a free, four-part webinar to help us negotiate The Art of Us: Love, Loss, and Loneliness Under Lockdown. Sign up here.

OK, it’s been two weeks. What’s your name, and what’s the one thing your roommate keeps doing that makes you want to throw them out the window?

I’ll go first. Hey everyone, I’m Ruth, and if I have to watch another episode of the Great British Baking Show, I swear I’ll do the time in solitary. I don’t care. MAKE IT STOP!

And that thing I said before about compassion? I get a free pass here, OK?


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