A Tale of Two COVID NEW YORKs

Just back from spending a few days in New York. This was our first visit since COVID introduced itself into our lives. We live a four hour drive to the west, and it was really nice to feel confident in our personal vaccination care to return for a visit.

A little history of New York COVID precautions … The City has been very strict on distancing, mask, and vaccination mandates. There was a city-wide mandate that anyone visiting an indoor concert, theater performance, or athletic event, had to show proof of vaccination. This led to one of the NBA’s best basketball players electing to opt out of home games for the Nets ( and give up multimillions of dollars) for not getting vaccinated. The City’s Police, Firefighters, and Garbage Handlers had also faced a recent deadline to either get vaccinated or lose their jobs. The Unions spoke out against this mandate, sighting a lack of time to make responsible decisions and the possibility of dangerous lack of police on the streets. i remember thinking this plea was ridiculous … Kind of like waiting for a man to be ready for his wife to get pregnant.

So we entered New York under this publicity cloud. But we saw what seemed to be a normal police presence and did not hear reports of excessive crime or danger on the streets. The only possible ramification of the mandate may have been a backlog in refuse pickup.

As one can see from the photos, the weather was great … Highs near 60 with blue sky and little wind. Not bad for November. We did a lot of walking … Which leads me to Outside NYC. The casual observer would not really notice anything COVID … Very few people wearing masks, good crowds, and no real distancing. The only real changes were the outdoor seating arrangements that many restaurants had set up,complete with heaters and umbrellas, and sreetside tables offering free COVID testing for walk-ups. Mostly it was just people walking around as if it were four years ago.

Which leads into the second NYC … The one found indoors. Upon arriving at our hotel, we immediately passed the on-duty security officer. He greeted us warmly, and reminded us that masks were 100% required inside the hotel. It became second nature to simply put it on when walking into the lobby. And, appreciably, compliance with other lodgers was complete without complaining.

Our hotel was the tip of the iceberg. During our stay, we visited museums, ate indoors at restaurants, and saw plays on Broadway. Every time, we were asked to provide proof of vaccination before entering.

The woman above roamed the walkways shouting out masking mandates during the performance. I had not seen such a strict protocol since the early lockdown days. But no one complained or resisted. In NYC, the enemy was COVID, not the rival political party. And at least for us, it provided a sense of relief that the risks we were taking by visiting the American city with the highest human density were ok. For NYC, I sensed that they were happy to be open for regular business again … We could tell that the Broadway performers were really happy to be performing.

So if you are planning to visit the Big Apple for the Thanksgiving Parade, iceskating at Rockefeller Center, or New Year’s Eve in Times Square, they will be happy to host you. But load your Proof of Vaccination on your phone and bring a couple extra masks … Minor irritations for better safety and the freedom to visit one of our world’s finest Holiday destinations.

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