Why did I choose to stay in New York as a pandemic sweeps across the globe? Why didn’t I choose to return home to the safety of my family and the safety of the Australian healthcare system? Why did I willingly choose to not only stay in the worst affected country in the globe, but to top it off, in New York, the leading state for cases in the US, a state that accounts for almost a third of deaths in the country. When you put it like that, it sounds like an absurd decision.
Over the past 6 or so weeks that I've been confined to my minuscule Manhattan apartment, I've received messages and calls from far and wide. From family to friends, acquaintances and complete strangers asking the same questions…”are you mad, get out of there whilst you have the chance”.
It’s a somber feeling walking through the streets of New York. Now absent of the constant hum that once pulsed through our veins, a culmination of sounds that characterize the very essence of this city. No patrons spilling out of dive bars, no buskers perfectly executing Frank Sinatras ‘New York, New York’ in Central Park. No tourists admiring the High Line, or art enthusiasts enjoying a lazy Sunday at The Whitney or MoMA. Pride march cancelled for the first time in half a century and no Les Miserables tunes pouring out of Marie’s Crisis, sung in unison by Broadway, Off-Broadway and amateur singers alike.
So if ‘the city that never sleeps’ is seemingly taking a nap, arguably, for the first time in history...why stick around? And what does New York look like now?
Words can only describe so much about the creative outlet of New Yorkers. I could tell you of the myriad of sounds that fill our city, every night at 7pm. A perfect, unconventional mix of horns and tambourines, pots and pans, as we spill onto our fire escapes and lean outside of our windows, to cheer and sing and scream for our healthcare heroes and essential workers. I could tell you of the saxophone player that sits in Washington Square Park every night, playing a concert worthy rendition of Queen Ballads. I could tell you of what we have now deemed ‘roof culture’ where New Yorkers do anything and everything from painting, to ‘walking their dog’, to dancing without a care of anyone watching and everything in between.
We might not be living in the same New York we once knew and loved, but the spirit of this city is more prevalent than ever. We are privileged enough to live in a melting pot for every race, religion, sex, personality and career, to name just the tip of the iceberg. New York's diversity of people is its magic and the magic of this city will live in no matter the storm.
So why did I decide to stay? I stayed because this is my home and my community. It’s not easy, for any of us, New York or not, but “we are going to get through this...because we are united, and when you are united, there’s nothing you can’t do”.
Please note, for the safety of our staff and customers, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, since March 2020 our New York City InStitchu Showroom has been temporarily closed. You can however still shop online 24/7—our production times have not been impacted and orders are being shipped directly to customer addresses throughout the USA and Australia.
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