CityWatch: The coronavirus changes everything in New York: Let us count the ways

These 119 things would have made absolutely no sense in pre–COVID-19 New York: Who’d have ever imagined … ?

1. Scalped paper towels.

2. Booze-filled go-cups.

3. Actually missing the office.

4. The new must-have status symbol: antibodies.

5. The sacred nightly racket at 7 p.m.

6. Latex fingers poking ATMs.

7. No mask, no gloves, no service.

8. Skipping church and the gym guilt-free.

9. Gray roots.

10. Drive-by wakes and shivas.

11. Talking on the phone again.

12. Appointment TV with Andrew (Cuomo).

13. PPE sewing circles.

14. Mean bouncers and velvet ropes outside the supermarket.

15. Imagining the dating opportunities when social distancing finally lifts.

16. The vast, open prairie that is Times Square — everything but the tumbleweed.

17. Jigsaw puzzles in one-bedroom apartments.

18. The Great Mask Tie Debate: back of the head or behind the ears?

19. “Essential” liquor stores — of course they’re essential!

20. Demanding to know why gelato shops aren’t essential, too.

21. Midnight checks for a delivery slot at FreshDirect.

22. The many joys of housework — actually, no, housework still stinks.

23. Obsessive temperature taking.

24. Fashion-statement face masks.

Mask fashion.

Getty Images

25. The long commute from bed to the laptop camera.

26. Technophobic grandparents finally learning to video call.

27. Clorox

wipes on iPhone screens, scratches and all.

28. Walking unafraid down the middle of the street.

29. You’ll never reach the end of Netflix
no matter how much you binge.

30. Facebook

friending people you’ve never even met.

31.  The City that Never Leaves the Apartment.

32. The perfect excuse for skipping your annual physical.

33. Expired, forgotten MetroCards.

34. Tipping 20% on takeout food.

35. April 15, July 15 — whenever.

36. GoFundMe campaigns for sidelined restaurant staff.

37. Class of 2020, saddest seniors ever.

38. Even after this, the housing market will still be way overpriced.

39. GrubHub
Seamless and Caviar, urban lifelines.

40. New term: flatten the curve.

41. New term: social distancing.

42. New term: shelter in place.

43. Scariest term in the English language: second wave.

44. Shopping malls, R.I.P.

The empty Brookfield Place mall in lower Manhattan.

Getty Images

45. Bringing back shaggy high-school hair styles — the busting-out ponytail, the bald-spot Bozo, the lopsided ’fro.

46. Ragged, unpolished nails.

47. Praying beloved small businesses will return.

48. De Blasio and Cuomo: These two are fighting still?

49. G-rated watch parties.

50. Waiting for an empty elevator.

51. Sanitizing doorknobs.

52. Curbside pickup.

53. Naps.

54. Baby boom or divorce boom — which will it be?

55. Empty mosques at Ramadan.

56. Wishing for rain so outside is less enticing.

57. No-pawing rule at the farmers market.

58. Appreciating teachers more than ever.

59. Dining-table home school.

60. Second-home refugees.

61. Singing recovered patients out of the emergency room.

62. All-day pajamas (bottoms, anyway).

63. Dreaming of empty-stadium games.

64. Two “Happy Birthdays,” new unit of time.

65. Celebrity governors everywhere.

66. Actually eating the leftovers.

67. Quarantine buddies.

68. What ever happened to … the Census? The political conventions? The 2020 election?

69. Hand sanitizer on body parts other than hands.

70. Cheap, cheap gas.

71. Shaving? What’s shaving?

72. Job? What’s a job?

73. The underpants mask, the bra mask — just stop! (The three-step T-shirt mask, though …)

74. No longer saying, “We’ll never … ”

75. Nerdy scientists, suddenly cool.

76. No, now is not a good time to learn the saxophone.

77. Whatever it is, it’s always worse for the poor.

78. Home cooking, rediscovered and enjoyed.

79. Closed beaches, open parks — hmmm.

80. Tracking infection rates like ball scores.

81. Finally trying to learn Spanish or Japanese.

82. Falling paywalls on brand-name news sites.

83. Nurses.

84. Nurses.

85. Nurses (yes, they’re worth mentioning three times).

Three cheers for nurses.

Getty Images

86. Funeral homes as packed as subways used to be.

87. Parking spots … everywhere. 

88. The true healing power of long, long walks.

89. Paramedics, the first responders’ first responders.

90.  Supermarket stockers, food deliverers, mail carriers and drugstore cashiers finally get the hero worship they deserve.

91. Health vs. the economy — who knew we had to choose?

92. Twice-daily check-ins with Mom and Dad.

93. Who’s an anti-vaxxer now?

94. Critiquing news anchors’ remote-camera home décor.

95. Sneeze guards at the checkout line.

96. Tape marks, 6 feet apart.

97. No-fee airline-ticket changes.

98. Considering a cruise? Didn’t think so.

99. Declining political polarization — fingers crossed.

100. Breaking down and buying ridiculous home-workout gear.

101. Social distancing from people we never liked anyway.

102. Nursing homes, the new war zone.

103. Wiping down the keyboard, the screen and the mouse — you mean we were supposed to be doing that all along?

104. Dog walkers, the most intrepid New Yorkers of all. 

105. Pushing the elevator button with your sleeve.

106.  Parents of teenagers thinking to themselves: “Yeah, they can be surly, but I kinda like having them around.”

107. Era of big government and bigger deficits returns.

108. Everyone knows someone who’s gone now.

109. Virtual shrink sessions.

110. Virtual happy hours.

111. Virtual book clubs.

112. Virtual doctor’s appointments.

113. Virtual birthday parties.

114. Virtual worship.

115. Virtual yoga.

116. Virtual lunch dates.

117. Virtual damn near anything.

118. Virtual hugs.

119. Virtual future.

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