Forty-first Entry



Monday, April 27th, 2020

The heat in my little home is on again—it’s nearly May. The chill has prolonged the spring blossoms and flowers, as it has in the recent years of warm winters. It is wonderful to have the exuberance and colors of spring extended.

Thirty-five percent of the food pantries in NYC have closed. Most of them are small and rely on volunteers—often the elderly. The number of people that are food insecure is increasing.

The Government Accounting Office projected 12% unemployment and a 5.6% drop in GDP by year’s end.  Steve Mnuchin, Mr. Trump’s Treasury Secretary, says things are going to bounce back this summer.

Especially at night, it has been exhilarating to be out in the changed city. Today, however, riding on a surprisingly car-free Sixth Avenue on a grey afternoon, I found it all depressing.

What will become of all these stores not to mention the people who worked in them? This is what it must be like to live in a small rust-belt city where most manufacturing closed down and, over the following years, stores closed and people moved away. Then the already quiet downtown became nearly silent.

Everything was closed. It felt like a graveyard. I circled around looking for something sweet before heading to the office and noticed a ripped open roll-down gate in front of a small shop. Gates, like chains, are only as good as their weakest links. A sturdy gate that is poorly installed works and looks good until someone tries to break in, at which point it does not offer much protection.

Often, all we need is lip service—a sign saying there is an alarm system can be, or seem, effective. Whoever pried open this gate was not trying to get into the store but was trying to get into a cash machine mounted in the store’s facade.

I still have not heard anybody mention all the boarded-up stores or looting.