Forty-fifth Entry


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Friday, May 1st, 2020

At 8:30, I overheard my neighbor, a twenty-something Republican (an assumption, having never met or seen him) talking to his parents on the phone. I have heard him many mornings since the quiet of Covid began. Early on, there were raised-voice battles about him coming home.

“I am safe!”
“I don’t want to come home.”
“I have been here for two months and haven’t gotten sick.”

“It’s not necessary” at which point he reminded his parents that they would have to buy him a “real bed” ($1,000 was mentioned several times). Sounds like there is no extra bedroom in their house, only a small space with glass doors—all more than I want to know. Toward the end of today’s call, he reported: “I have heard that job opportunities are better outside of New York in the Carolinas and Oklahoma.”

The number of patients in ICUs in New York is not much lower than two weeks ago; April 14 was considered to be the peak. The temporary “field hospital” inside the New York Convention Center will be closed as it is no longer needed; the beds will remain, a precaution against a possible resurgence of the disease.

Unit Two of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, less than 25 miles from New York City, closed down for good yesterday. Unit Three will continue to operate for another year and then close. That is an impressive change. Almost as though some lessons have been learned, if not from Three Mile Island, then from Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Several more years remain on Indian Point’s operating license, and some environmentalists have called for it to stay open to cut down on carbon emissions. That point was stressed even more in recent weeks as proponents said that, “keeping Indian Point online could save lives during and after the current pandemic” because nuclear power fosters cleaner air. It seems that the real reason for the closure is lower energy prices, Entergy Corporation, who operates the plant, was not making enough money.

Some things do not change.

2-minute audio

Popular restaurants, Washington Sq Park skating sink, flags at half mast.