COVID at the Tipping Point?

New Yorkers look back on a long strange year, and forward to a ray of hope

It is the strangest of anniversaries, one long year after COVID all but shut down our city, and we find ourselves looking both backward and forward. Backward at disruption and disease, at loneliness, at a year of hiding behind a mask. Yet forward too, with a new administration getting vaccines into arms as rapidly as possible; at the promise of the increased safety of warmer weather; at, perhaps, a ray of hope.

Reporters for NY City Lens fanned out across the city to gather some impressions of this moment in time. We found an illustrator who is allowing herself to be “cautiously optimistic”; the owner of a children’s bookstore who refuses to quit; a Lower East Side resident who sees progress but worries about a false sense of security that could invite the virus back; a former felon who likely got out of prison after 31 years because of COVID, and who would like to devote the rest of her time on earth to counseling and helping others; a budding dancer who came this close to getting on a cruise ship one year ago that turned into a floating COVID disaster, and who then began asking himself, ‘What do I do with my life’?; and a 75-year-old musician who has been riding out the pandemic on a bicycle, and who won’t consider it over until he sees people going to concerts once again. And more. We invite you to join the conversation.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Last spring, as residents of Parker Towers in Forest Hills, Queens shuttered in their homes due to the virus, resident, Dan Solinsky, and porter, Lassana “Siby” Siby, found a way to provide hope to the residents and remind them of the healing power of togetherness. Dan, a former member of the University of Pennsylvania pep band, played the National Anthem nightly on his saxophone, while Siby paraded the American flag around the courtyard as residents cheered them on from their balconies. Dan said the sense of community born from the act provided a bright spot early on in the crisis and hopes that it is one thing that residents hold on to long after COVID-19 is overcome. One year after the city went into lockdown, Dan and Siby spoke with NY City Lens about what this gesture meant for the community, and what they hope for as we emerge from the pandemic.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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