Eighth Entry


West 21st Street 

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

In the early hours of the morning the senate passed a two trillion dollar relief bill. Yesterday the stock market went up two thousand points, the largest one-day increase since 1933, as usual ahead of the news the rest of us hear.

In LA, the largest Roman Catholic Dioceses in the US officially closed. Mass was suspended a week ago; I guess that means the doors are now locked. Nevertheless they plan to ring their bells at noon and 6:00 PM. Why not every hour as in most every town in Italy?

LA is reported to be 6 to 12 days behind New York and their barbershops have already been shuttered. A barber spokesperson agreed “we should be closed – who do you need to look good for?” He said barbers would be offering self-grooming tips that people can do at home. The local courts ruled that gun shops, which had been closed, are essential and can operate as normal except, of course, that those waiting to buy a firearm need to maintain 6 feet of distance while waiting in line.

In NYC composting has been shut down by the health department. Upright daffodils radiated in front of a brown UPS truck on the nearly empty west 21st Street. A passing rain left an especially silvery afternoon light; I hope people are looking out their windows.

The line outside Trader Joe’s on 21st Street was one-third the length of yesterday. The average space between people was about five feet. A white NYC police car* turned north onto Sixth Avenue and an audio loop featuring a male voice started warning about social distancing. I rode away, perhaps to social distance myself from the unwanted extra sound. It reminded me of the oversized “mitzvah trucks” that cruise around during the holidays blaring music and good wishes.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority said that they are losing 120 million dollars per week due to reduced ridership; they estimate four billion will be needed simply to survive.

* NYC police cars are white because colored paint was deemed too expensive in 1996. Imagine what may be cut in 2021 budgets.