The Art of Living With a Mask: Travel, New York City

For the past three days, I’ve been glued to the computer from morning to night. I pieced together the puzzle pieces of information, gained during eight hours of interviews, into something that will hopefully be both informative and interesting. Last night, at around 6:00, I hit send on a first draft of an article. Now, it’s my editor’s problem, and I have a few days of lovely ignorance of the work that will follow after I get the first round of edits.

So, let’s talk about fun stuff!

We’ve been living in seclusion for nearly a year now. The schools are shut, and I fear that they may never open again. While all this is tragic, especially for the most vulnerable kids and families, me and my gang are determined to keep living. We can’t lose an entire year of life, as our incompetent leaders dither and stumble.

As part of our winter challenge to take a day trip every weekend, we went to New York City last Saturday. There was too much snow to go out on a hike up a mountain, so instead we hiked through a museum and around the streets of the city. Urban hikes can be just as vigorous as a hike in the woods, if one does them right.

Our adventure began at the Museum of Modern Art. Pleased with ourselves for getting free tickets through the library and for finding discount parking, we roamed around with a spring in our step. With so much time spent cooped up in our homes, we’re visually deprived — everything is beautiful and worthy of a photograph. We are missing Jonah terribly — he’s back at school — so we texted him pictures of familiar sites and favorite spots throughout the afternoon.

After a couple of hours, we drove down along Fifth Avenue through a spooky, deserted Times Square — it was practically empty on a Saturday! — to 24th street, where we lucked into a parking spot on the street. Score! We had a late lunch at the Excellent Dumpling House. Chinese food in New York City is massively superior to anything found in Jersey.

After some debate over a plate of dumplings that were excellent indeed, we decided to walk to Chelsea Market next to get some fresh spices. I didn’t really need the spices, but we needed a plan and a destination.

Walking the blocks in the brisk city style, we wound our way through the side streets of Chelsea and stumbled onto a junk shop. I was already in junk-mode, after spending the morning at an estate sale. I was curious if city junk was more expensive than suburban junk. Ian is a wikipedia editor for their history of video game entries, so he was in heaven pouring through their collection of old video game cassettes. I cornered the owner, a Bernie Sanders clone, and we traded junk gossip.

“I make those 30-year olds look F@CKING good on their God dammed Zoom calls,” Jerry the owner said. “They put my shit on their shelves, so they look F@cking smart!

Like Times Square, Chelsea Market was spooky, deserted. The spice market was closed, but we picked up coffee and treats instead and admired the ingenious outdoor dining shacks.

I’m not sure where we will go this weekend. Sunday looks like the nicer day, but the hiking trails might be too muddy. We have made a tentative plan to go to Princeton, but those plans will be hashed out over dinner for the next few days.