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  • Rebecca B.

Livable, Six Feet Apart

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Pandemic. To me the word still feels like it lives in the sci-fi world, not on NY1. I can't tell if I'm in active denial or just can't comprehend reality right now. But here we are. Distancing. Shawn and I began this blog sometime ago as New Yorkers working in real estate, among other jobs, as a platform to discuss how to make this city "livable." We maintain that it is not just a city for the top 1% of Americans. Anyone should be able to be New Yorkers if they are willing to do the work needed on a daily basis to simply live here. It's more work than most cities, with more reward, and it is worth it. That is true now as well. My family is lucky in that we are all healthy, so far. There are so many out there who are not as lucky and to those of you in that category, our hearts go out to you. We wish you a speedy and smooth recovery, and hope going forward this blog will bring you moments of levity for your fight. For the rest of us without a health battle or serious financial dislocation, we are all really struggling with the isolation. In other words—Crapballs, what do we do now?!

I chose location over space long ago—to forgo a yard, two-car garage, playroom, and basement and instead cram my family of three (five if you count the pets, which we do) into a one-bedroom apartment and use the resources of NYC as our extended floorplan. Most of the world has no idea the extremes we New Yorkers go to, in order to make this life work in normal time. And now we are asked to "social distance." I mean, my family is doing it, gladly, but there are some major flaws to the concept in a city like this. If it was possible for me to stand six feet away from people on the street, don't you think I'd be doing that regardless of a pandemic?! Interestingly, people are really trying to figure out this distance. Seems like it ends up being more like three than six, but that's three more than normal, so I'm impressed! If we do figure out how this city can keep distance, let's just live like that from now on, ok? No more strangers beside me falling asleep on the subway and sliding onto my shoulder, or waiting to cross the street with a clump of 35 people, or fighting to get around an idiot with a golf umbrella on a rainy day. I want a bubble around me and one must get permission to enter! Although today, day nine at home, I'd give money for someone to get into the bubble. But I digress...

I was on a text chain with some of my college girlfriends the other day, venting about how hard everything is now. One friend in Georgia sent a picture of her kids at the end of her driveway, using a go-cart, a wheelbarrow, and a hose, and wrote, "We're figuring out things to do, you just have to be creative!" (Uhm...) Another in Arkansas sent an art project to do on the fence in your backyard (Sigh). I'm happy for them, that it isn't as difficult where they live. Yet our reality is we're getting hit the hardest so we have to be the most careful AND we have the least space to "shelter" in. Yes, we can go outside, but not to a playground. Ok, "playgrounds are closed." My kid understands that. But when we see another child at the park playing with trucks, how do I stop him from going over to the kid to play with him? We do it, but what is he walking away thinking? "We can't talk to people, we should be scared to get close to anyone, and no one should share, ever"? So we hardly leave our designated 700 square feet.

This is hard. For everyone everywhere. But as a whole, we as New Yorkers have a different situation than most out there and our solutions moving forward are going to have to be more creative, more specific to our community. I moved here in August 2001, scared that New York was going to be too tough and cold for me. But living through 9/11 showed me the opposite: New Yorkers have more heart than anywhere else. It was easy to come together after that crisis, and it was everyone's natural instinct. I know we all want to do that now, but we are faced with one great obstacle—how does our community unite while social distancing?

So this is what LivableNYC will attempt to tackle in the coming days/weeks/months. I do admit we all have much more to worry about, especially financially. I'm not sure that is a mountain we can address here. Yet, anyway. Maybe farther down the line there will be ways to help each other in that regard. But now I'm hoping to post things here just to get us through the day-to-day. I'd like to post information to support our local small businesses, ideas on how to stock a "pantry" (just the one shelf you have for your dry food, you know what I mean) and recipes, entertainment recommendations, online resources, delivery do's and dont's, ways to laugh, really all things that help us stay "in place." And I'd like YOU to help me. Email suggestions! Write your own recommendation, I'll post it. Comment on posts and we'll get a discussion going. Use the hashtag #LivableNYC on social media to share ideas. How do you have a date night? What are you doing with your kids? How do you explain and set boundaries? What are your guilty pleasures, while not leaving the house? How do you feed your artistic side? Give me EVERYTHING! Be a part of the discussion and keep checking back to steal more tidbits on how to make this pandemic livable.

I don't know about social distancing. Surprisingly, I'm figuring out the distance part. But we can't not be social, not right now. I reject the idea. Come, on NYC, where's my community? Let's get social! We need each other, now more than ever.

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