NY Times Is Super Excited By Things We’ll Keep In Post Pandemic Life

Post pandemic? From what? Do you see anything in the news about a pandemic? Oh, right, that Chinese coronavirus stuff, which mostly simply disappeared from the news when the polling became very inconvenient for Democrats, causing them to end most of their mandates toot-sweet, even though cases were higher than they were last summer. Do you see much about COVID? Vaccine mandates disappeared. I guess Brandon’s planned big employer mandate, set to kick in early January, was unnecessary. But, the NY Times really wants to keep certain aspects (you can also see it at WRAL, if the Times’ paywall gets you)

Six Things We’ll Keep From Pandemic Life

On Nov. 17, 1918, The New York Times published a lengthy interview with the city’s health commissioner, Royal Copeland, titled “Epidemic Lessons Against Next Time.” Copeland, who a few years later would become a United States senator, spoke about the city’s comparative success combating the Spanish flu, which at that point, although it had killed nearly 20,000 people, had caused considerably less devastation than in other major cities. Copeland credited this outcome in large part to systems and habits put in place during previous public health crises. Even a century earlier, there were, in other words, always takeaways.

Now, two years into the current pandemic, it seems like a good point to ask ourselves what changes — to our patterns, lifestyles and public spaces — might be with us for good, or at least for a very long time, given that the future will almost certainly bring new variants and disruption.

A mask will probably live in your pocket forever.

Mask-wearing, though popular in many countries around the world before the pandemic, especially where pollution is severe, was always regarded with suspicion in the United States — a sign of indulging unnecessary paranoia. Although masks became the subject of a lot of defiance in many states during the past two years, New Yorkers embraced them. Compliance with wearing masks on subways remains remarkable.

We have also learned that they have multiple uses — as face warmers, as shields against unpleasant street smells, as concealers of skin problems and, for women, as armor against men who pass you by on the street ordering you to “smile.” Their use is now normalized, and we’ll pull them out of the drawer every flu season.

I can see it to warm your face on a chilly, windy day. Smells? Not bloody likely. They do not stop smells, unless you’re dousing it in perfume/cologne. Armor? Please stop with this trope. I’m not carrying one with me, though, I still haven’t cleaned them out of my work bag or car center console. Will Mask Cultists continue to wear them incorrectly as they wear them voluntarily?

Remote school was a disaster. Remote work was fantastic.

I wouldn’t know, since my job can only be done in person at work. Some people love remote work, some don’t.

Everyone fell in love with biking.

If you didn’t already have a bike in the early phase of the pandemic, you soon learned that the bright idea to go buy one immediately was shared by many, many others. By the end of 2020, sales had nearly doubled nationwide, and waits for bikes could last months. Last year, Citi Bike was struggling to keep up with demand, and people complained that it was nearly impossible to dock bikes. The city responded by working to improve biking infrastructure, and a new cadre of bike advocates was born just as New York was plunging into the hard work of meeting its carbon targets.

They did fall in love, and, then quickly gave it up when things started reopening in Fall 2020. There’s a greenway behind my house. I rarely see bikers anymore, where there used to be a ton. Maybe NYC is different, but, I bet there are a lot of expensive, unused bikes sitting in people’s homes right now.

Everyone said ‘I love you’ to the urban wild.

The pandemic fundamentally changed our relationship to the outdoors. It wasn’t just eating out on a sidewalk under a heat lamp in January that became a thing; so many forms of social and professional life moved beyond the indoors — first out of necessity, then for the sheer pleasure of it. In 2020, attendance in New York state parks hit a record. In the city, people began exploring parks far from their own neighborhoods. (When a colleague told me about some hiking trails in Staten Island he had been to, I quickly corralled my son and our friends to check them out.) Walks with friends took the place of meeting up for drinks or coffee. And if you were lucky enough to live near some of the people you work with, you might get together to brainstorm on the Brooklyn piers, never missing the windowless conference room.

Do they still do that? Or, have they gone back to their old ways?

Workers rose up.

And now things are starting to go back to the way it was.

Forget Miami, the Catskills and every other place you thought you were going to live.

The real estate market in suburbs and rural towns and on beaches outside New York soared. Bidding wars were making headlines. But eventually, living on a goat farm in Sullivan County got tedious. The sump pump in the Morristown Colonial kept breaking. The “Ice Storm” scene in Connecticut appalled you, and just because you could play tennis on a public court every day didn’t mean that you ever got around to it. You missed the city. It’s true that in the city, you very rarely went to experimental theater or ate grasshopper tacos in Queens or had any real inclination to go to the Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective at Lincoln Center. But all those other people did. Above all, New York is the thrill of its human capital. The affair was over; you wanted the marriage back.

I’d say this shows the elitist urban liberal mentality, but, this was written for NYC folks, and most people think where they live is optimal. Missing is how all those New Yorkers escaped the city early in COVID for the suburbs and rural areas, spreading COVID around the country. And most of us in those areas are appreciated when the NYC liberals go home, bringing their uber-leftist ideas with them, their Elitist attitudes with them. There’s an old saying down here “your expensive BMW is great, but, our good old boys drive $250K combines two weeks a year.”

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2 Responses to “NY Times Is Super Excited By Things We’ll Keep In Post Pandemic Life”

  1. Joe says:

    “A mask will probably live in your pocket forever”. This actually came in handy. I was out in the forest last week when a sudden urge hit. Rather than using a sleeve from my shirt, I used a mask. I’ll never look at them the same again.

  2. Down on the corner says:

    A group of girls kept going in the girls bathroom and putting on heavy lipstick and then kissing the mirrors. This went on for some time until the janitor, a poor Latino who was just trying to make a living for his family complained.

    So the Principal brought in the girls to the bathroom where the last batch of lipstick was still stuck on the mirrors.

    She said “I want you to see how difficult it is to remove lipstick from the mirrors.” Whereupon Pedro, the Latino janitor, took out his squeeze, dumped it in the toilet bowl and proceeded to wipe the mirrors repeatedly with toilet water.

    The mirrors no longer had any lipstick on them the rest of the year.

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