‘These are not normal times’: a journey through New York City amid the pandemic

The city isnt a spirit town yet but small businesses are hurting for customers as polite walkers escape physical contact

Running through Manhattan from the Battery to the Bronx, Broadway is New York City’s lifeline. So in the wake of the coronavirus eruption- and the raft of restrictive measures being implemented across the city and the commonwealth in an attempt to contain it- it seems like a good neighbourhood to check the prevailing mood.

It doesn’t bode well when, on the 4 train down to Wall Street, a busker with a guitar performing a song boasting the words” coronavirus everywhere you turn “. Other than that, and the presence of a few face masks and latex gloves, everything appears relatively normal.

Above ground, it’s grey-haired and mild. While it’s not heaving, New York is definitely not a ghost township. There are parties milling around and tourists ordering up as usual to take selfies with the Charging Bull, the copper carve which parts up the spirit of nearby Wall Street.

The first party I encounter is Tim Lamch, 38, who with a huge bag on his back and propagandizing a fully loaded drinks streetcar, makes a surreal vision. Is this coronavirus pertained?

” I just happen to be moving during coronavirus ,” he says.” I’m only moving two blocks .”

The account executive, currently driving from home because of the virus, says it’s busier than he had anticipated.

” People required to be out. Parties don’t want to be cooped up and beings still have to work. Not everyone can work from residence .”

At the patrolman, tourist Liliana Oropeza, 44, is lining up with her husband and 10 -year-old son. The lineage, from Monterrey, Mexico, were working to reach the very best of the situation but so far, she says, their anniversary has been “awful”.

” We bought tickets and can’t use them because the museums are closed. We are trying to move our flight dwelling to maybe Monday .”

Signs predict’ Closed today’ outside the Met on 13 March. Photograph: William Volcov/ REX/ Shutterstock

On the streets, people are more polite than usual- apologising if they bump into each other, shunning physical contact.

A steady seep of people are coming out of the New York Stock Exchange, to go get their lunch. But as I start my mode uptown, coronavirus’s impact on small and medium-sized businesses becomes clear.

At Thai Street Food, a meat truck outside Trinity Church, co-owner Sony Ramirez, 35, from Queens, says business has dropped by 50% because many offices have closed. The truck’s one waiting patron gongs in:” Commonly I meet a line now. Today I’m the only one .”

Ramirez adds:” I’m worried because I have to work. I need to take care of many beings .”

Further up, there’s a line of menu trucks. It’s 12.30 pm but nothing have more than one customer. Sayed Sadat, 52, who works at a bagel and lunch truck, is backpack apart after a deathly gentle morning. A big bin of uneaten bagels stands next to the truck.

” I came at 4.30 am and nothing[ came] until 6am. Business is no good. No business at all .”

Disaster also tower for the souvenir dealers. On a area near Fulton Street, where shoals of tourists typically pass on the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, Tiger Diop, wearing a feathered” joyou new year” headband, sits, his stock unbought.

” I don’t know how I’m going to make a living ,” he says.” Everybody’s suffering now .”

Face disguises on display at a memento stall in Times Square on 13 March. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/ Reuters

By city hall, a small group of climate demonstrators stand with a big” Fridays for Future” pennant. The street is so quiet that birdsong is audible from the gardens.

As I contact the Tribeca neighbourhood, the daylight comes out. It seems to creating more pedestrians. But John, 55, a memento marketer garmented in a grey surgical mask and a New York police department cap, says the street is considerably quieter than normal. He has started selling latex gloves and alcohol disinfectant but he says it’s entrust sanitizer people want- a stock inconceivable to track down. A nearby convenience store has a sign in the window:” Concealments sold now .”

In Soho, Steff Bradley, 23, a graphic designer, and student Wilson Chiu, 25, are on their way to the bank. Bradley is wearing a mask. She says she felt short of breath this morning and is so anxious about coronavirus that she” had a panic attack over a runny snout “. As we speak, she reprimands Chiu, who says he is not concerned about the virus, for handle his face.

I veer off Broadway for Chinatown, where Kong Wah Bakery’s manager, Sam Chung, says business is down by 50% and staff are working half-days.

Near New York University, which recently moved all categorizes online, I speak to a group of computer science students who concur the locality has ” emphatically got a different vibe “.

In Washington Square it becomes clear that just about everybody is talking about one thing: coronavirus. Disrupted travel sequences, whether or not to go to a party, cleaning proficiencies, how much menu they’ve got stocked up.

In Union Square, everything seems reassuringly normal- people are playing chess at tables, there’s music, the farmers’ market is on. But things take an cataclysmic turn when I recognize a subject in a full respirator mask and eye shield inspecting potatoes at a vegetable stand. The being, who doesn’t want to be specified, says he is in his 70 s and on remedy and dreads for his health.

” These are not normal times ,” he says, in muffled tones.

At Madison Square Park it looks like everybody wielding from dwelling has made the possibility of taking their domesticated to the dog area and enjoy the sunbathe. But the atmosphere is distinctly lacking in Friday buzz.

People walk through Times Square on 13 March. Photograph: Erik Pendzich/ REX/ Shutterstock

At Times Square I’m greeted by Elmo, Lady Liberty and Spiderman. Unusually, they don’t seem to be able to entice anybody near them. Finally, a lover ambling into Walgreens concurs, elbow bumping Lady Liberty as Elmo takes a photo, before ambling back in to do his shopping. A solitary gentleman dances to the soundtrack of his AirPods.

On the steps, often compressed with tourists, there is plenty of breathing room. British sightseers, Dan Hase, 33, and Claire Hase, 30, from Newcastle, are calling New York for the first time. They are understandably disappointed. After arriving on Wednesday night, they went to see The Lion King only to find all Broadway acts had been cancelled and many of the attractiveness on the three-day pass they bought are closed.

” It was a bit of a setback ,” says Dan.

It is at West 44 th street, where lots of theaters- including St James’s, currently dwelling to the Frozen melodic, and the Shubert, indicating To Kill A Mockingbird- that I find the most haunting scene of the day.

The road is usually full of parties queuing to come in, assembling during intervals, taxis dropping people off, red tethers for debuts. Now, it is almost completely empty.

A few people are in the box offices, optimistically booking tickets for brighter ages. But on the street it’s so quiet that all I can sounds is a plastic menu container- New York tumbleweed- blowing down the street.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ us-news/ 2020/ disfigure/ 14/ new-york-city-coronavirus-impact

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