Not one car and not a single pedestrian.
It was early April. I was standing at a window in our midtown Manhattan apartment, overlooking Park Avenue, usually brimming with traffic and now completely empty.
The coronavirus pandemic was running rampant in New York with reported cases hovering around 10,000 every day. Every day Governor Cuomo held TV briefings, giving detailed accounts of what was happening. He also advised us as to the precautionary measures we must take, such a wearing a face mask and gloves, keeping a safe distance, washing hands frequently, and, at all costs, avoid large indoor gatherings.
Things had come to a weird standstill. Quarantine was more or less required. Most stores except groceries and pharmacies were closed and other than the frightening sound of sirens, silence reigned throughout what had become a ghost town. Since subways were no longer a good option, Roxie, my wife, moved her studio from Long Island City to our living room. In June she returned to her studio, walking most of the way and taking the ferry across the East River.
April and May are also remembered for the tributes made to essential workers. Every evening, at seven pm, I would hand Roxie a saucepan and a large metal spoon. She would lean out of the window, bang the saucepan and, intermittently, at the top of her lungs cry out “THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” Neighbors in nearby buildings joined in, and cars honked.
Wearing a face mask became the thing to do in New York City. Even statues such as Patience and Fortitude outside the Public Library, and Atlas at Rockefeller Center did it - not to mention the giant dog balancing a yellow cab on its nose outside the hospital at 34th Street and First Avenue.
If they can do it, so can I. By late summer almost everyone wore a mask.
People had left our building, mostly young professionals going back to their parents’ homes in upstate NY, maybe Ohio, or Virginia, and others left for summer homes on Long Island.
Because indoor dining was not allowed, many restaurants moved outdoors filling the sidewalks and even parts of the streets.
One good thing: as you can see on the chart below, New York has flattened the curve enormously.
When will it end? Nobody knows.
Gargoyles,Girders & Glass Houses by Bo Zaunders has created a picture book tribute to seven of history's most celebrated architectural wonder-workers and takes readers from the domes of Florence to the mosques of Turkey, and from the Eiffel Tower to the Chrysler Building. Illustrated by Roxie Munro
For Vicki Cobb's BLOG (nonfiction book reviews, info on education, more), click here: Vicki's Blog
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