UWS Encounters in the Age of the Coronavirus: ‘We’re All Connected’


A lone juggler at Lincoln Center. Photo by Stephen Harmon.

I took a long walk up to my 93rd & Amsterdam 99-cent store last night, then down to Westerly Natural Market on 54th & Broadway for the exercise and stress release (gym closed) and saw that Key Food on Amsterdam & 86th was closed with a sign saying: “Closed early; Received no food delivery today.” It’s eerie how quiet it is out there; even the guy who usually screams at the traffic on 79th & Broadway was doing more pacing than screaming. And Westerly was closing early last night as well.

It’s hard to imagine all the damage quietly taking place all around me while at the same time my net worth has dropped with the speed of a safe hurtling out of a window… I’m stunned but I’m guessing that despondency will probably be the next stop on this emotional whirling carousel ride we’re on. The only real question remains, what’s next? Will hundreds of victims start to drop all around us, or will this whole thing just fade away like a desert mirage as evening falls?

— Lawrence Braverman

Yesterday morning I made a trip to Zabar’s to stock up on food for the foreseeable future. There were only a couple of other customers there, and when I got on the M104 bus with my loot, I was the only passenger. The driver asked where I was going so that he could let me off on my block. The times are definitely out of joint, but this was a sweet gesture. I’ve never traveled in a private bus on my own before.

— Toinette Lippe

I’ve tiptoed to the laundry room for the second night — hoping it empty and that Princess Corona doesn’t “hear” me. As the washing cycles do their job, I sit in the garden… waiting. I’m wearing a cotton mask and disposable gloves. Such an alien fashion statement. It’s a warm night — not as invigorating as last night still I’m breathing and that’s good enough. No, it’s a blessing. I look up at the windows of my apartment building. Many residents have fled to their country homes. The Penthouse, where I first lived in the 60s has light. And my one-bedroom, my home now, has light. I feel reassured. The garden, usually full of flowering springtime plants, is barren. Yet to me, everything is beautiful and luminescent. At 79, I’m in the high-risk group. I’m aware of each inhale and exhale. A hapless creature from a wet market in a city I never heard of has changed everything. I think it’s been made clear. We’re all connected.

— Marian Hailey-Moss

UWS Encounters is adapting. We’d like to give you a chance to express and share your thoughts, feelings and experiences for the purposes of clarifying them for yourselves and offering them to others who might benefit. Try not to write an opus, 175 words or less would be great, and include your real name. Photographs are welcome. Send to westsiderag@gmail.com or put in the comments below. Sorry, no mugs for now, but we’ll be out delivering as soon as we’re able. Be well.

COLUMNS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. sidetreknyc says:

      Asymptomatic City Isolation side effects. Some good. Some bad. They can’t cancel Spring.

      https://thesidetrek.com/2020/03/21/side-effects/

    2. Chris says:

      I work at a hospital on the East side and walked both directions today by sheep Meadow. I have never seen so many people smoking pot in my life. Some groups passing joints around others had pipes and even a Bong all great for passing this virus around. Really can not blame the youth one has to blame the parents of NYC for their epic fail raising these young folks.

    3. V. Moughan says:

      Son of Sam is in the air. I remember walking my dog in the West eighties in the late 70’s when Son of Sam shootings were terrorizing the city, and suddenly realized that I was alone on the block at night. Felt true panic as he was an unseen, unknown predator who could strike anywhere, any time. Much like this stealthy stalker now in our midst.

      • RB says:

        Right? Walked my dog the past couple of nights and felt unsafe for the first time in a long time in NYC. Eerie and unsettling right now after 8pm.

    4. meggie says:

      My daughter is ER nurse. Many people attack them of frustration and not getting the test. She doesn’t want to meet me because she may be infected so we face time. My daughter in law is also ER nurse in NC. They do not have enough gear for nurses so she has to take care of patient with running nose all day without masks. My friend call them nurses at a battle field. I agree.

      • John says:

        Meggie,
        I also work in a hospital in NYC have been exposed three times in the past week told I have to come to work till I have a fever. Sounds stupid right also N95 mask are at a one week supply at this time. But 95% of folks will get this and recover so do not panic

    5. Sharon says:

      We need to Stay Calm and Carry On. This will pass.

      In the 80s at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, we knew much less about how that virus was transmitted than we know today about COVID-19, and NO one freaked out and started hoarding.

      We just took precautions and remained calm.

      We are NEW YORKERS!

    6. Sharon Shafir says:

      I live here 4 years now. Riverside and 63rd. It became scary when I realized I already heard about 4 neighbors in few buildings here who are sick right now but they can’t do the test yet. Only if they will get worse.. think about it , staying home isolated and not knowing what to expect. I think about the elderly , who are in high risk, about all of us who’s losing our jobs and on top of that you can’t know if you have a simple flu or the corona one.
      Its one of those times I feel I wish I knew more neighbors to talk with and hear some local stories, I always run and suddenly we have all this time to look around .. but we don’t know you .
      I hope we learn something from this crisis, to be more appreciative, even the air we breathe is not obvious now, and the people we see every day in the neighborhood- suddenly everyone has his own story, please stay smart at home and don’t break the social distant.

    7. Janis says:

      I am 71, my husband is 79. Today we received our first online food order. I left a note on the apartment door asking her to “please leave the bags. Thank you.”

      I waited until she left, and with rubber gloves and Lysol wipes, removed each item from the bag, wiped it down and brought it into the kitchen. Five paper shopping bags and a cardboard box which held a gallon each of milk and white vinegar. It took a while to do each item individually, but I’m not to take any chances. I then carried the bags, without bringing them into the apartment, to the trash room.

      Although he doesn’t say it, I’m pretty sure my husband thinks I’m being a little obsessive.

      Local TV has just announced that NYC deaths are up to 99. It may look obsessive to a man who served in combat in Vietnam, but I want him to get through this war, like he got through that one. I want us both to.

      • Lisa says:

        Janis, wonderful. You are doing everything you can to get you and your husband through this battle.