#ClapBecauseWeCare Catches On in the Neighborhood and City; Join In!

By Michael McDowell

There is not a lot of good news these days. New York City is an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and it seems like things will get worse before they’ll get better.

The city has gone quiet, and the Upper West Side along with it, a silence broken only occasionally by the awful and all-too-frequent howl of an ambulance. The streets, empty of life and bereft of our friends and neighbors, are grim. At night, they’re eerie and desolate. Few businesses remain open.

Worst of all, we know that far too many are sick, and some of us have already lost a loved one or a friend.

For good reason, some of our neighbors and friends have left. But many have stayed, because they choose to, or because they must—because New York is home.

#ClapBecauseWeCare or #ClapForOurCarers began on Friday in New York. Every night at 7pm, New Yorkers open their windows and clap, cheer, bang on pots and pans, hoot, whistle, and shout — someone downtown apparently even found what may be a trumpeting didgeridoo or vuvuzela — for those putting their lives on the line to keep the city going and to keep us safe: essential workers like health care professionals, firefighters, police officers, and transit employees. And essential workers also includes those who haven’t always been thought of as essential, but whose importance has become clear in the pandemic: grocery store cashiers, pharmacists, supermarket stockers, mail carriers, delivery people, restaurant workers, sanitation workers, and more.

Not only does this nightly celebration recognize the people who are putting their lives on the line, it reminds all of us inside our apartments that we’re not alone. It is a rare moment of joy and sound—living sound—a moment that points toward the lives we can all begin to live again when this is all over.

We’re still here, and we’re going to make it through this.

Tonight at 7pm, and every night after, join the standing ovation—join for the workers, and to remind yourself that you live in New York and that New York will survive.

NEWS | 40 comments | permalink
    1. ben says:

      To paraphrase one Ron Swanson: there are a few things I miss: silence, the absence of noise, one single moment undisturbed by hooting and hollering and banging of pots and pans at 7pm.

      • Dale says:

        Seriously Ben? You live in NYC with constant noises of the city, most of them unpleasant and you can’t tolerate 5 minutes of people coming together to thank everyone on the front line? You are clearly living in the wrong place. Get a grip.

      • ra says:

        well said

    2. g says:

      we should also be yellling ‘i’m mad as hell and i’m not going to take him anymore!’ as an elderly man, shouldn’t trump sacrifice himself for our economy? wasn’t that his idea?

    3. Extreme says:

      I think clapping is enough and you start banging pots and pans are you going to scare all the animals, Infants and children. we’re gonna have a lot more problems!!
      Let’s not get extreme here.

    4. doodad says:

      To those who complain about five minutes of joy and morale boosting during this whole mess – you might seriously consider moving away from NYC, as you clearly no longer embody the spirit of this city.

      • ben says:

        Sorry I don’t enjoy superficial so-called acts of joy and meaningless noise making. I embody the spirit of this city by actually donating PPE to the healthcare workers.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Well said!

      • John uws says:

        Agree w doodad. 2 mins of joyous noise, dogs barking, pots banging. Some ppl annoyed, all that, That’s NYC!

      • Meryl says:

        Agreed! We love the communitu feel and the sense of New Yorkers coming together!

    5. Mom2two says:

      Love, love the brief chance to scream and make noise for SUCH A GREAT REASON! It is an uplifting moment every evening.

      I appreciate all of our essential workers- medical professionals, cashiers, police, truck drivers, delivery people— so, so many people. And they all deserve hazard pay.

    6. Alexandra Altman says:

      Building employees are also critical to apartment dwellers! And no one ever mentions them.

      • UpperWestSider4Life says:

        Thank you. As a buidling concierge, we are lucky to have the residents we have. They make sure we eat, ask how are we and our families doing. So thank you Alexandra for thinking of and mentioning us even though I do not work in your building we are considered essential employees. So go ahead and clap and 7:00PM. NYC never sleeps!!!!!

    7. Terence says:

      Michael,

      This is inspiring, and we participate out our window at W102 and WEA.

      You know what’s also inspiring?

      The Jerry Garcia links in your trail….there’s a certain comfort I get from remembering how sweet it was to be in the same room as Jerry, a hundred times….

      “Listen to the river sing sweet songs
      To rock my soul”

    8. Columbus9796 says:

      If people want peace and quiet, you live in the wrong place. My apartment is situated at the corner of an extremely busy intersection where I hear noise from cars, sirens, and motorcycles nearly all of the time, but the 5 minutes of people celebrating at 7pm in honor of our front line health care workers and first responders who are out there serving all of us, come on – lighten up. Maybe join in so that you can see what joy feels like! Or just listen & appreciate to hear how people take a moment to show how they care for or about each other.

    9. Janet David says:

      Great – Its a joy to hear them from my window

    10. CCL says:

      Joyful sounds all over the city at 7pm. I’m hearing from friends and family from Eastside to Westside all around the town who are happy to participate in the public appreciation of our medical/frontline heroes. Open your windows and join in.

    11. Carol Mennie says:

      Tonight was my first to join in – I heard the amazing sound of my neighbors, but until now didn’t know what or why….it’s wonderful to say ‘my neighbors’ to such a huge crowd – and I found myself laughing through my shouting & banging on a tambourine….even thought I reconized some voices! Hurray for us – we are New York!

    12. Andrea says:

      Beautiful writing.

    13. Tim says:

      It’s encouraging that people are uniting and showing support every night for all essential workers, from healthcare, grocery, law enforcement, to our leaders like Cuomo and Trump. U.S.A.!

    14. DaveO says:

      What about fireworks?

    15. Emily says:

      And noisy NYC wouldn’t be the same without a few grumpy characters like Ben. I love it all. And not to worry, if Ben starts yelling out his window we’ll all take it as participation. May everyone be healthy.

    16. Matt says:

      I look forward to 7pm every night!

    17. Hey there says:

      Medics do not need your claps or howling like a dog. If you really want to help about you DONATE them food, gloves and masks and alot of more protective gear. Do that if you really want to help out the soldiers.

      • Corey says:

        are these two things mutually exclusive ? you can’t both yell out your window in a moment of NYC solidarity, release + support AND donate supplies to the effort ? we’re New Yorkers, we can do two things at a time

      • Joy Monster says:

        OMG, lighten up Scrooge McPrivilege. Some people don’t have enough money to donate. Also, some people donate and cheer. Get a grip.

      • Laur says:

        The nurses I know love the clapping and show of appreciation.

        I hope everyone making comments about “donating” means donating MONEY electronically. We are on PAUSE in NYC, no one should be leaving their homes to bring physical items to a hospital. It’s NOT SAFE for you.

      • LM says:

        “Hey there ”
        Initially I agree. And yet when it comes to donating money or supplies, things can get misappropriated or things don’t go according to plan. Even when Hurricane Sandy took place in NY, and there were these “stations” for people to bring donated supplies; after a while there were too many supplies that could not be used. And, ultimately there were signs put up at donation stations asking people to stop donating supplies.
        And of course there is always opportunity for donated money to get into the wrong hands.

      • L M says:

        “Hey there ”
        Basically I agree, but on the other hand I recall when Hurricane Sandy happened. Donation stations were arranged or set up so people can donate blankets, diapers, food, etc. and it got to where the supplies piled up in warehouses or churches or wherever else and organizations were telling people not to donate any more(a least that is what I recall). Donations often get misappropriated or even wasted; and often money goes more for other than actual aid to people . In fact if you donate a mask it might be rejected because you touched it and it could be contaminated.
        Maybe it is just best to just stay indoors and 6 feet away from everyone else as your best contribution.

    18. Kathleen says:

      It’s interesting that some people believe that if you do one thing, you’re not doing anything else to help. So if people clap and yell and clang out their windows to show appreciation, break up the isolation with a few minutes of connection in this way, the assumption by some is that they’re not doing anything else to help, like donating PPE. Such narrow mindedness. But then, as others say, all of this is NYC, even the curmudgeons! Happy clapping, I’ll join you all at 7pm tonight as one way to show my gratitude for being safe at home, well, warm with food and connections with family. My gratitude for all those who are still working to help us all through this crisis.

    19. Rachel Teplow says:

      Another enthusiastic vote for doodad and the other cheerers (is that a word?)! Don’t you applaud after a great concert? We want our leaders, in addition to everything else, to provide words of comfort or uplift. How on earth is this 7pm cheer a bad thing?! I love it! It’s quickly became a lovely daily ritual for my husband and me.

    20. From the prairie in Kansas and the “little apple”. You are truly New York Strong!!! Hang in there baby!

    21. Joe says:

      It’s great and all but there is no call to action here in the article. I truly hope that those who are taking videos and posting this on social media are doing their part to donate and take any action possible to the front-line workers.

    22. Susan T says:

      Just heard the rousing shouts, the pots, the pans
      the clapping hands many bouts
      In my nabe too,
      The middle East Side.
      Hurrah, hurroo
      You New Yorkers true
      Oh the pride
      In all the front liners
      Who help all of us to be survivors.

    23. Ken Paul Chernock says:

      We are all in this together! The people who just make the noise at 7P; the people who just donate supplies or money or food; the people who do both; the people who do neither. Everyone is doing what they can with what they have and we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!! Lets learn to ACT like it!!!