It’s official, spring is here! It’s not exactly warm yet, but being able to take a walk in the daylight after that final work Zoom meeting every night has already done wonders for my mood, how about you all?
Last Saturday, I celebrated a friend’s birthday in the outdoor area of Ainslie, a massive new pizza place in Williamsburg, and I must say it felt like an *almost* normal night out. It was an extremely hopeful and fitting way to mark the pandemic-versary, as her birthday party last year—an extremely tipsy affair at her apartment—was the last fun thing I did before the city went into lockdown mode, and even then the Covid anxiety in the room was palpable (and probably the reason everyone was so overserved in the first place). Things aren’t perfect yet vis-a-vis the virus numbers, but there is an encouraging vibe in the air and I for one will TAKE IT, although I will note a surprising Stockholm Syndrome-ish neurosis about having to be “on” again in the near future, by which I mean being expected to look halfway presentable, make and keep plans, and perform basic social skills and niceties. Anyone else?
As I was reading others’ thoughts on what they’ve lost during the past year, one thing that struck me is how, after two decades of living and working in Manhattan, I’ve had virtually zero relationship with that borough since my Flatiron office switched to remote work on March 13, 2020. I think I’ve actually been to the city maybe four times since then, and I’ve realized that I have very little sense of which specific places I’m nostalgic for are still actually open or what the neighborhoods that were once so familiar feel like right now.
My mother, an artist and art lover who has been trapped in the burbs all year, finally felt comfortable enough post-vax to venture in to see the new Alice Neel show at the Met and she loved it, so maybe I’ll give that a whirl myself. Or I will try to get back in touch with the vast expanse of New York beyond my immediate hood by tuning into Tuesday’s virtual launch of New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time, a new book by Craig Taylor that draws on his interviews with a diverse group of 75 remarkable and fascinating fellow Gothamites.
Back in Brooklyn, I’m digging the sound of Talea Beer, a brand new woman- and veteran-owned brewery and taproom in Williamsburg with ample outdoor seating. If you have access to a car, maybe you can plan to stop there on the way to Saturday night’s double feature at the Queens Drive In of Escape from New York and Robocop. Or, if you haven’t yet watched Judas and the Black Messiah, it has now been enthusiastically recommended to me by everyone from the 12-year-old son of a friend, to my mom. I just bought tickets to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at New York Botanical Garden, which opens in April and has both indoor and outdoor components depending on your comfort level, and I’ve also got my eye on Influences, an upcoming modern dance on ice performance taking place at the Lefrak rink in Prospect Park and sponsored by BAM. If you need something to listen to while you’re banging around your apartment, consider trying the new Atlas Obscura podcast or Murf Meyer is Self-Medicated, which I previewed last week but have now heard and can fully endorse along with Forbes.
In light of the horrific murders of six Asian-American women in Atlanta this week, and the steady uptick of anti-Asian violence right here in our own city, you could take a field trip to Flushing, Manhattan, or Brooklyn Chinatown this weekend and order as much takeout as you can carry, and then fill your backpack with frozen dumplings to carry home. Or, if you are wondering where to donate, NYMag has an excellent round-up of local and national organizations.
That’s all I got, folks, unless you count trying to decide whether it’s worth just casually loitering outside various Walgreens trying to scrounge up a leftover vaccination dose. (Related: has this actually worked for anyone?) After a year of shopping only for the dullest, most utilitarian loungewear, I temporarily lost my mind and ordered a pair of white (!) cowboy boots that arrived yesterday and, if I have any sense left in my head at all, will be on their way back to the warehouse in short order. I’d love to hear about your most impractical pandemic purchases if you think you can top that one—maybe I’ll get the justification I need to just hang on to these beautiful and completely ridiculous things after all. Be safe and enjoy the weekend everyone!