As our nation moves from stockpiling toilet paper and pasta to hair dye and yeast, we could be forgiven for thinking the entire planet has the same primal response to panic as we do.

But history and culture define how we react in times of crisis. And my Greek friend, for instance, helpfully points out that her homeland is more concerned about bulk buying feta and olives than the state of their mullets.

Further research reveals that, in Finland, boxed wine is flying off the shelves.

In the Netherlands, the planned closure of coffee shops led to a run on weed.

Irish electrical stores have sold out of giant freezers.

And in California, there were long lines outside gun stores.

The Germans have a word for all this (of course they do – they have a word for everything): hamsterkauf: the act of storing food (or anything else) in case you might need it at some point in the future. 

Some Australian newspapers, meanwhile, responded to the fear of toilet paper shortages by printing blank pages, to be used in an emergency.

And in Scotland, where people face a fine if they exceed more than one, essential trip outdoors a day (either exercise or grocery shopping), and police helicopters are hunting down rebel gatherings of more than two people, we react, in time-honored fashion, with foul language and political satire. This one’s NSFW friends.

Back to hamster safety …

We’re all about NOT spreading things around right now. But if you’re enjoying this daily 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 – please tell your friends. They can sign up here and make us stronger together.


What can boost your mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity, as well as reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats, and colds? Oh, it can also make the air in your apartment cleaner. Find out at (here’s a clue).

Start songwriting
Learn the art of creating your own music with New Victory Theater. These daily sessions last all week and include warming up your vocal chords, tongue twisters, and feeling the beat. Get creative here.

Learn some classic Fosse moves
Every Monday, the Verdon Fosse Legacy releases the #fosseminute – an opportunity for dancers and non-dancers to learn a piece of choreography from a master teacher. Start moving here. 

Or you could always salsa …
You have half an hour to learn some sexy salsa moves, led by Talia Castro-Pozo, every Monday evening. When you get finally get out of the house, you’re going to be ripping up that dance floor! Start shimmying here.

When life gives you lemons …
Limon Dance has been bringing its modern dance classes to Bryant Park since 2011. But, while we’re unable to get together in person, they’re bringing a daily class to us, via Instagram. Get your fix here.

Hear a Potter podcast
Since school has been closed, two of the sassiest 10-year-olds I know, Leo and Izzy, have started a podcast about Harry Potter. Listen in wonder here.

Join in story time
Our friends the Ramirez family are leading a delightful story time for neighborhood families. You can see their Faces Project video here and listen to story time three afternoons a week here.

And meditate …
HYHK Alliance brings a moment of mindfulness into your Monday evening. It’s free – you just need to register here

What’s your name, and what was your favorite bedtime story as a child?

I’ll go first. Hi everyone, my name’s Ruth, and I’m going to choose one on behalf of my mischievous youngest – The Time it Took Tom, a story about a mischievous little boy who finds a tin of red paint. What could possibly go wrong?

Your turn … 


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