Why are New Yorkers so angry
"I wasn't prepared for all the dead" : New York becomes the world's crisis center
Life is incessantly offering its wisdom to the living. Go out, because it's worth it. Don't forget to look up out there. These two teachings were valid until a few weeks ago in New York City, where a Chrysler Building could be admired at sunset. Or, at Madison Square Park, the top of the Flatiron Building. Or ... oh, it was so long ago.
The wisdom of the New York present is different. New Yorkers are now learning: It can always get worse.
In three days the number of deaths has doubled
There are more infected people today than yesterday. More deaths, of course. More terrible news, more bizarre too. And less hope. If you stroll through Manhattan today, hesitantly of course, avoiding all other passers-by, you will still find this former center of the western world a little darker than yesterday.
The numbers this Saturday morning: 102,863 corona infections and 2,935 deaths in the state of New York, including 57,159 infections and 1,562 deaths in New York City, the world crisis center, the ghost world city. In just three days, the number of deaths had doubled.
And it goes on and on. The moment is still around six days away when there will be no more ventilators, said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday, "D-Day" is now the prophylactic name for that day; or prophetic.
Too many cases, too few staff
Doctor B. reports from a hospital in Queens that he is now working in a war zone: "There are beds everywhere in the hallways, far too many cases, far too few staff, no equipment, today the protective mask from yesterday".
And the nurse D. says she was not prepared for all the dead, she was only 24 years old.
And like so many of the silent heroes, to whom the applause from the balconies and apartments in the city is meant every day at 7 p.m. during these weeks, C., best friend and best man, surgeon and urologist, volunteered for an emergency call. There has been no meeting for four weeks, no beer, no sailing training, no breakfast, just face time and e-mails.
"Horror, Hope, Loneliness"
C. reports from the first day: “The work in the intensive care unit is a reality of contradictions. Horror, hope, loneliness, fear and self-doubt ran through me at the same time when I put on a protective suit and mask for the first time. The first patient was 60, the brother of a colleague. He was already on the ventilator, and although he wasn't sweating, I could feel his fever through the towels. "
For the man it was the second day of ventilation, says C., maybe the strong reaction of his body will save him. “It will be a week or two before we know. I had to make two accesses, one in a jugular vein and the other in an artery on the wrist. This is not a high-risk surgery, but there have been moments when it could have gone wrong. He would not have had a high tolerance for complications. "
Broadway lights? dark
New York City was a public place back then, before Covid-19. The shoeboxes called apartments are expensive here - but for that eight and a half million New Yorkers got Central Park and MoMA, the Metropolitan Opera, all the galleries and all the shops and also the Yankees (baseball), the Rangers ( Ice hockey) and, well, even the lousy curtsey (basketball); all the people here got a life that felt wider, bigger, more worth living than anywhere else.
The 41 Broadway theaters grossed two billion dollars a year - the lights of Broadway are dark. The Met, says its director Peter Gelb, will lose 60 million dollars due to Corona, which cannot be anything other than existence-threatening.
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The pace and strength of this city carried its residents away; everyone, everyone who lived here wanted to do or become something, had an idea, was enthusiastic about something. That is why New York was always bigger than its clichés: with every new image it always invented its counter-image, never slept and can never fall silent. Everyone here thought that. Before Covid-19.
All the nannies, cleaning women, security guards: unemployed
New York was a money city, of course. Wall Street defines Manhattan, and Manhattan defines the rest of the metropolis. And now: unemployment across the board. The chain reactions: all the nannies, cleaning women, security guards lose their jobs. Ten million Americans registered unemployed in just two weeks of March, the rate rose from 4.4 to 13 percent, and this will continue, more drastically here than in the rest of the country.
C., the doctor and friend, writes:
“I need a few moments to find my focus, to find my way back from the grand scenario of this pandemic to the very specific anatomy of those few centimeters behind the ear and under the chin. But I can't see the vein. Is he dehydrated yet? I need help.
I call for a nurse through the sealed vacuum door. As soon as she's changed, she comes in and turns the bed so he is upside down. I find the vein, and there is a rush of emotions: No, I didn't screw it up. I'm wet from my own sweat under a protective suit and mask. "
A city like from the 19th century
He spends a total of 80 minutes in the same room with the terminally ill patient - it's the nurse's first day at work: She flew in from Kansas and volunteered to help. “She is like a saint who does not know that she is a saint,” writes C. - “modest. Moving."
Background to the coronavirus:
New York could be dark before, all you had to do was go down the steps into the world of the subway: pale people squeezed into the subway, listened to music, read or slept, nobody looked at the others, nobody down there smiled. Rats were running through the stations. The announcements: mumbled.
There were, even then, those days when New York looked like a city from the 19th century: the fumes everywhere, the lousy sewers, the holes in the streets, the power outages, including this radical class system, of course, the rugged, angry one Lower class. Once a man ran through the car and held up a sign: "Scream at me - $ 1."
As quiet as usual on Thanksgiving
Now the subways are empty. The buses too. The streets: empty. The latter is practical because every stroller can use the entire width of the eleven avenues. It is now as quiet every day as it was only on Thanksgiving in all the years before.
Even before Covid-19, this city was able to give its people the feeling that individuals are worthless here because it had its own pace, and those who did not run with them fell and were left behind.
But how powerful was the glow of New York then, this universe of anonymous lights, as John Updike once wrote. Now the Empire State Building shines like the city's last torch.
And in the evening at nine there is a play of lights up there, blood-red, while the city listens to the radio “Empire State of Mind”, the hymn by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys: “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There's nothin 'you can 't do / Now you're in New York. "
Closed doors. Lowered blinds
The public New York area included its restaurants, pilgrimage sites such as the celebrated "Via Carota" in Grove Street or the nice "Café Katja" on the Lower East Side, where goulash and sauerkraut or various types of bratwurst were served, and "Jever". Erwin, the boss, had named the "Katja" after his daughter, and Andrew, his business partner, would have preferred to go fishing, but he makes such a good Linz cake that it was needed every day.
Closed doors. Lowered blinds.
Some liquor stores are still open, customers are only allowed in individually, and outside there is a security guard with a glass hard hat that looks like an upside-down wine cooler.
Some fast-food shops, "McDonald’s" and "Chipotle", are still holding out, otherwise the city is barricaded. Anyone who goes for a walk no longer has a destination: at least no café, no bookstore, the playgrounds are locked with thick chains.
A few hours from death
C. writes: “On to the next patient. The same scenario, apart from the fact that it is freezing cold and, in my estimation, a few hours away from death. Even so, she still needs the procedure, and who knows, maybe she'll make it after all. Lay two more entrances - and continue. "
Celebrations like the Steuben Parade, named after the German-born General Friedrich von Steuben, were part of New York life. Year after year, Americans with German ancestors celebrated with German tourists in the streets of New York.
The marching band of the Wickede Volunteer Fire Brigade played “High on the yellow car” on Fifth Avenue. There were lederhosen, Mercedes convertibles, bagpipes, why are there bagpipes anyway? Past.
The New York of yesteryear was his language. "She’s blockomore," said the boys in the East Village, saying: "She only looks good from a block or more."
Striving, in a hurry? The city stands rigid
New York was on the move, all New Yorkers always seemed to know where they were going, ate while running, talking on the phone and typing while running, "to gain time", that was a New York term and a motto of the city. Which now stands rigid as if dead.
C. writes: “My third patient. Apparently the most normal, but overweight, therefore theoretically particularly difficult. In the meantime, all of my concentration and training have reached my fingertips. I'll be done in 15 minutes. Another sister takes care of her. Clever, focused. Not a bit of fear. I can see her smile through the mask. She loves her work. "
How does he feel when he goes home? “Proud of the tiny bit we've achieved. All of this remains a nightmare that cannot end soon enough. "
New York was already changed before Corona
New York was the city of strangers, because many were new here, liked beginnings and encounters, helped each other, even though this city could be so hard or precisely because of it.
So many people here worn themselves out, fought, and the city lived on this energy, shimmered. Now there is still the smile of those who avoid each other. A nod, at least.
New York, that was the taxi driver who was supposed to wait three minutes and drove away and scolded on the phone: "Three minutes is a lifetime in this city." No more taxis.
Part of this city is that it should not be romanticized ... or: why not, these days? Let's put it this way: You should notice that it had changed before Corona. Cafes like "Angelique" on Bleecker Street had long since disappeared because the landlord wanted $ 42,000 a month instead of $ 16,000 a month from one day to the next.
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The St. Marks Bookshop is gone, and Starbucks is always being added. But it was still true, back then, before Covid-19, what E. B. White once wrote: "No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky."
The governor does what Trump fails to do
And now Andrew Cuomo, the governor, is fighting for this city, trying to stay calm, to remain respectful, not to insult President Donald Trump all the time, because New York needs the ventilators that only the government in Washington, D.C. can procure.
Day after day, Cuomo seems serious, clear, sad, combative. Every day he tells the city and state what the situation is like. Every day he is the opposite of Trump.
So can it really get worse here, in New York, which was still so passionately lively yesterday?
A walk through the quiet city leads to the Hudson. Few people are still here, a father is playing frisbee with his son in a meadow.
"The current tore them away"
Suddenly this note sticks to a street lamp. “Please help us find our boys,” it says, including two children's faces, the faces of Manny Flores and Isaiah Moronta, both 13 years old. The two jumped off the Spuyten Duyvil Creek Bridge on the northern tip of Manhattan. "The current tore them away."
And Andrew Cuomo has learned that his little brother, TV presenter Chris, is infected. "He is strong, if not quite as strong as he thinks."
And C., friend and doctor, now knows that one of his assistants was infected. He writes: “She had no symptoms. She infected both of her parents, and both of them died. I don't sleep well. "
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