I don’t know what it is about this spring, but it just feels different. Maybe because we got bombed with snow all winter long. Or maybe because it is the second spring during the COVID pandemic. Or maybe it is because I am vaccinated and most of my family is getting theirs too. Whatever it is, I am loving this season. It feels like a reawakening and I am feeling a bit more hopeful than last spring.
I am still not traveling but with the days getting longer, my walks are getting longer too. I live near many beautiful parks here in North Brooklyn, so I’ve been exploring near and far (but only as far as Manhattan since I am still not traveling at the moment.) Brooklyn feels almost “normal” with everyone emerging from their winter cocoon. The parks are packed, outdoor dining has resumed, and shops and restaurants that have been closed for a long time are slowly reopening. Everyone seems to be more optimistic.
Manhattan isn’t quite there yet. Depending on which neighborhood you are in, things are quite different. Midtown Manhattan is the hub of commuters and business people. But with most people still working from home, the streets are quiet. SoHo and parts of Greenwich Village are filled with empty storefronts and eerily quiet streets. While it is nice not to be caught up in throngs of people hurrying around the city, it also feels like something is missing.
There are a lot of rumors flying around social media how Manhattan is all crime, homelessness, and garbage. I’ve also heard that it is less safe than in years past. While crime might be up statistically, I don’t see the anarchy and devastation in Manhattan that others are talking about online. I’ve even got some messages via Instagram saying that I am posting “fake news” about New York City. I post what I see and what I see is my favorite city in the world reemerging from a difficult 14 months. I see the city reopening slowly with a sense of hope. I see a new government trying to fix a broken country. I see New Yorkers pulling together to bring back our vibrant city. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.
When you are ready to travel again, I urge you to visit New York City. Help us bring this vibrant city back to life. Have a gluten-free feast at one of the small businesses that stayed open or newly opened during the pandemic. (My list has been updated!) Buy gluten-free treats at a local bakery. Stroll through our gorgeous parks. New York is still here, I am still here, and I am ready to help you navigate this wonderful city.