The Times Inspire Fear
To say that I have adored NYC all of my life would be an understatement. I always lived here. My parents lived here and my grandparents moved here when they came from Europe. It always seemed to me that it was the most wonderful place on Earth to live. It was interesting and exciting.
Of course, the city had drawbacks. However, on the positive side, this was a city where a New York intellectual like me could thrive. The endless mental stimulation was dazzling. The numerous museums were amongst the best in the world. The culturally diverse population afforded our citizens the opportunity to learn about other beliefs and life styles. The subways and buses ran 24 hours a day. There were thousands and thousands of restaurants offering delicious high quality food. There were great parks, public libraries, live theatre, concert halls, excellent universities, great medical centers and sports teams. There was an exciting burgeoning high tech industry that dazzled the world. We were known as the city that never sleeps. To be a New Yorker meant that you somehow believed that your life would be a quality, interesting life and your possibilities were endless. Even for a poor cabdrivers' daughter like me. Amazingly, most of the people in this very diverse city got along fairly well and that was our greatest source of pride.
Once corona hit everything changed. At first, we tried to band together. We did not understand this new reality but we figured that we were a city of Supermen and Superwomen. We could handle anything. Then the deaths increased. The riots rampaged through some of the most beautiful neighborhoods. The subways became dangerous, chaotic places and people began to avoid them and that made them more dangerous and chaotic. The crime soared. There were muggings in the middle of the afternoon. The murder rate skyrocketed and the streets were no longer safe. The rat population doubled. Countless people lost their jobs and many could not longer afford food or rent. The schools closed as did the libraries, movie theatres, sports arenas and museums were closed, as were the world famous Broadway theatres. Businesses went broke because they did not have customers and you would walk along the streets of Midtown Manhattan and see them boarded up. Graffiti covered the walls of formerly fine shops and apartment buildings. Sadly, people began to lie on the sidewalks in all kinds of weather.
We did make some progress. Vaccines would eventually be available but justnot yet. Fewer people continued to die from the virus but people still were dying. We stopped leaving our homes unless it was absolutely necessary and in a crowded city of over 8 million people we became more and more isolated. Fear took over and begot many more of our fears. So I did what professional artists like me always do. I made art about fear.