I returned home Monday. I’ve pointed out a few things that surprised me. I found the culture shock greater after this three-month than after longer times away.
- The clarity of the air. Crossing the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, I could see the World Trade Center more clearly than I remember. Still, the air isn’t clean, just cleaner.
- Few people. The city isn’t empty, but it feels as depopulated as during major holidays. Few cars in the street too.
- More litter than ever. I presume the city reduced paying some people who clean up litter.
- I suspect people are littering more. People look resigned.
- About 30% compliance wearing masks. I would have expected higher.
- Outside the city, birdsong woke me most mornings. I thought I’d hear less bird noises here. Unexpectedly, I hear a lot of birdsong here, but only one species of bird—I presume sparrows. Outside the city, I’d hear dozens of songs.
- Obesity. People everywhere describe New York City as among the most fit part of the country. If this is the most fit, I can’t imagine other places.
- Noise! I can’t believe how noisy the streets are, even with fewer cars. My block has a non-stop white-noise drone of air conditioners.
- How many buildings boarded up their ground floor windows, I presume to protect from looting.
- Food availability. I worked a lot of relationships to source local food outside the city, also less popular food like nutritional yeast or chia seeds, not in tiny, overpriced sizes. Here, my coop, CSA, and farmers markets provide it easily.
- A lot of cops. I presume they’re staying in place after the protests and riots. Still, they’re just standing around now. They still look militaristic with uniforms that look more military than community.
- Cops not wearing masks. I’ve seen maybe two wearing masks.
I’ll think of more and update the list.
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