How To Fall Back In Love With Your City Post-COVID
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Whether you’re logging on from NY, LA, Chicago, Paris, or London we can all agree on one thing. Quarantine hit city dwellers very differently, and (IMO,) MUCH more painful than suburbia.
With no yard, no friends, and 600 square feet to call home, at times I truly believed I was going to lose it, and a part of me began to resent the city I used to love so much. It wasn't until this week when I went on a date with my city I truly felt wrapped in the warmth of NYC again.
True, I had bursts of excitement every now and then. When I would read in the park, or shop around the streets. But I realized, those were just an attempt at reviving memories. A desperate grasp at life before quarantine, but today was different. Today was new.
I started by meeting a friend for coffee and ended up at one of my favorite bookstores. We spent nearly an hour moseying around the old building. It smelled like the yellowing books that filled it, and the new crisp white ones that had just arrived.
I believe today was different because I wasn't trying to recreate memories, but I was open to making new ones, and quite honestly it was the best day I have had in a long time. So it got me thinking. Your city has changed. Whether its a population of 8 million or 8 thousand COVID has rocked it to its core, but that doesn't mean you have to love it any less. Take NYC for example. The city is a living breathing thing, and just like people, she changed. So here are a few ways you can fall in love with your own city all over again.
Go do something you love, but in a new location.
For me, it was book shopping. Pre-COVID when I was still in school, my go-to spot was always Shakespeare and Co. on the Upper West Side. It was modern, bright, and had a good selection of books. It was the perfect fit for my daily routine. But I don't live there anymore, and that will never be my routine again, so instead of mourning the loss, I embraced the change. My new spot is The Strand. The famous home to over one million books in Union Square. The Strand is eclectic, nostalgic, and extremely warm. Even more of the amazing stories I loved to surround myself with, just in a different spot.
Grab coffee somewhere you’ve never been.
You might notice the trend I’ve got going on here. GO DO SOMETHING NEW. When my friend asked where we should go for coffee, I literally googled “coffee outdoor seating” and the second option was perfect. There we sat talking and reminiscing, as I sipped on the sweetest lavender latte. Surrounded by flowers and coated in the warmth of string lights I noticed how unquestionable happy I was. I wasn't stressed about money, or work, or my family. I was just living in this new space that I love. And that was enough to keep me smiling.
Make a new friend.
We're all lonely, that's just an undeniable fact. Though some of us have been lucky enough to endure this pandemic with a partner, or family, we miss our friends. It seems everyone I love was drop-kicked all over the country and are now slowly clawing their ways back home. Keep face-timing your besties, and checking on your friends, but allow yourself the energy to make new ones. All it takes is a quick text to ask for coffee to spark a conversation or simply swipe up on a story. Don't let your anxiety get in the way of the friendships you deserve. Try to remember that we truly are all in the same boat, just looking for a friend and a little fun in these shitty times.
Walk until you find Flowers.
I don't know about you, but nothing brightens up my room like a fresh bouquet of tulips. If you happen to have a bodega selling flowers right below you? Ignore it. Just keep walking. You're going to be exploring finding new stores, and bakeries you want to try on the way to buying something so sweet for yourself. TBH the idea of exploring is a little tiring, wandering around hoping to find something cool until you cave and buy an Uber home. It’s a much more doable task when you have a destination. So strap on some sneakers and get to walking. You're going to find some cool shit.
Of course, there are a million other things you can do. Order pizza and eat it in the park. Watch the sunset from a rooftop. Go get bottomless brunch. Ride a city bike all day around town. Do what you want to do just make sure it's new.
I walked home slowly for the first time in a very long time today. I got off the subway and no one was around to nudge me along or roll their eyes if I lingered just a tad longer on the platform. So I took my time. I walked in a zig-zag up the stairs and floated down Broadway until I got right to my building. I had a meeting in ten minutes but I didn't care. I spent the next five minutes tapping along to the song on my AirPods (I'm In Love With You- How fitting,) and staring at the tops of the skyscrapers facing north. I did this because I had the time. And because I'm in love. For the first time in a long time I looked at my city and my stomach dropped, and my heart fluttered, and I was in love all over again. So I just sat in it. Because I deserve that.