Essay: The City Has Turned the Corner


Photo by Stephen Harmon.

By G. Bianco

I had a magnificent 4 mile run in Riverside Park last evening. The park was literally bursting with thousands of blooming daffodils and jonquils. The cherry blossoms are in bloom too. But it was more than that. People were out walking, strolling hand in hand, biking, running, squeezing the last bit of the daylight as the sun was setting over New Jersey. I passed by the arch area by the 79th street boat basin which used to have a restaurant. The restaurant has closed and vacated  but in the empty space was 4 or five couples with a portable speaker dancing salsa and expertly so. The perfect light of the golden hour made me wish I brought a camera to record the scene but I didn’t so I stayed there and watched the sun drop and the sunset redden the dancers. On my way back to my apartment I passed outdoor restaurant pavilions full and noisy, the AMC movie theater Marquee announced the first movie in a year, Godzilla vs. Kong!  As I approached home, I noticed a crowd gathered, masked and quiet as a young violinist played classical music on a stoop a few houses down from mine.

A year ago, everyone was inside at 7:00 clanging pots out the window in defiance of the virus and in solidarity to those who had not left for safer ground. Last night, the rebirth of spring and New York was evident everywhere.

The City has turned the corner.

New York’s resilience has won.

ART | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Mike D says:

      Turned which corner? Daily positive cases are nearly the same as last April. We just ignore that now.

      • D-Rex says:

        Exactly…
        Some people have turned the corner and are now on Delusional Street.

        Nice happy talk, but for now NYC and the country are still in hazardous territory. The 7-day death average (US) is still 1,500+/Day

        Great that it is Spring and relief is in sight, but for now, maintaining vigilance is still the way to go.

        Being the last person hospitalized for Covid does not get you bonus points.

      • Brandon says:

        Can you seriously not see that the city is in a much different, better position now than it was a year ago? Pretending like nothing has improved is insulting to those of us who worked so hard to make sure that it did.

        • Rook says:

          On the contrary, pretending that it’s almost over as the numbers stay the same is insulting to those of us who have sacrificed normalcy to keep others safe. it’s insulting to see people eating “outdoors” and “socially distanced” like they’ve never seen a yardstick in their lives.

          I don’t think that Mike D or D-Rex are saying the city isn’t different than it was last April. They’re saying that it is and it shouldn’t be because the death rate and the danger is the same as it was a year ago.

          • Sarah says:

            The danger isn’t the same for the vaccinated, now almost 20% of the population and rising fast. It’s the unvaccinated jerkwad minority that insists on behaving as if they *were* vaccinated that is keeping rates up.

    2. Sally says:

      That was beautiful. I felt the same thing when I was walking in the park., Thank you!

    3. jms says:

      Vigilance.

      https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/b-1-1-7-variant-now-predominant-coronavirus-in-us-cases-spike-in-michigan/ (“US COVID cases ‘disturbingly high’ as Michigan sees dire spike”)

      Let’s not trip up at the finish line, people.

      • M. Gregg says:

        Exactly..let’s not trip up.

        That was a beautiful commentary. I am so sure NYC will be back better than before.

    4. L. Rath says:

      I’m with you on your positive feelings and witnessing what feels like the city bouncing back slowly…I believe in us and NYC. Maybe there are still positive cases, but WHO IS DYING? There are no death reports…and no matter how this pandemic ends, people will get sick and die for many, many reasons, and we have to accept that as a part of the cycle of life and move forward. We need to be free again and responsible for our own lives…we don’t need the government to decide these things for us. Sun, blooming trees, flowers, warmth and POSITIVITY! Bring it on, I say.

      • jms says:

        “WHO IS DYING? There are no death reports”

        The NYC COVID-19 death count yesterday was 56; the number of hospitalizations, 4,351 (https://twitter.com/HealthNYGov/status/1380562792990846977). Not sure where you’re not getting your information. If it helps, think of it as *only* 56 deaths and a *mere* 4,351 New Yorkers sick in hospitals due to SARS-CoV-2.

        “We need to be free again and responsible for our own lives…we don’t need the government to decide these things for us.”

        Yes, let’s make NYC an anarchist jurisdiction again, just like in the good ol’ days! (Personally, I can hardly wait for the removal of all traffic signs & signals.)

    5. lauren says:

      Mike D. – that is incorrect. One year ago, barely anyone was being tested. The only people being tested a year ago were symptomatic. If testing were being done one year ago in the context of current testing numbers, the number of positive tests in April 2020 would have been astronomical compared with today.

    6. Amanda Porterfield says:

      Made me cry. Up there with Election Day.

    7. DML says:

      I felt the same way last weekend until my citizen app was blowing up all during dining out last Friday night. The surge in shootings and violent crimes is real and so very sad

    8. david says:

      Famous last words. This is irresponsible journalism. Lulling people into a false sense of security that conflicts with tangible facts.

    9. Lauren L says:

      This post makes me so happy!

    10. Deep Thought says:

      Britain prevails

    11. Victor N. says:

      Regarding the daffodils, New Yorker put it very nicely here:
      https://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon/wednesday-april-7th-three-daffodils

    12. UWS Craig says:

      I have to say the city is better than it ever was. Our museums are now quiet places of reflection like they were designed to be – not overwhelmed by the hordes of tourists who can’t really appreciate them. And our streets are no longer clogged with ubers taking obnoxious bankers on their way to work. We can finally enjoy a city unpolluted with gawkers or sinister financiers, but just with the true New Yorkers. Let us savor the vibrancy of our diverse community dancing in abandoned storefronts.

    13. Marv Hazan says:

      Thanks for this George..we will be coming back to city life very so9n.

    14. Ina says:

      Thank you for the positive message, I personally think same and can’t wait for life to be back to a complete normal. We can survive the virus and De Blasio, the city will persevere!

    15. Kevin Horne says:

      I don’t want to rain on this positive vibe, but it is patently untrue to imply that everyone was indoors banging pots one year ago.

      Starting on the evening of March 13, I was amazed on a daily basis to see people everywhere – on the soccer fields, baseball diamonds, bike paths, jogging paths (same?), walkways, recreation area along RSD and lo 100s, etc. etc.

      Part of me wishes this tug of war between “NYC is dead” and “NYC is back” would just go away. In realization that NYC is a constant.