What I’m mostly struck by is the Black Cat That’s What I Do I Read Books I Drink Wine And I Know Things Shirt in other words I will buy this new-found silence of New York. I live on a busy intersection that is no longer busy. The flow of traffic throughout the city has reduced to a trickle; the cars are almost gone, with maybe a stray taxi. Where I live there are only trucks — food trucks, garbage trucks and then ambulances, loudly piercing the flesh of my eardrums as I try to sleep. I don’t sleep anymore, not like I used to when Covid-19 was in Wuhan and I was just maybe a little worried that it would eventually come here. I don’t sleep like that anymore, I sleep fitfully, the way fearful people sleep. I can’t fall asleep and when I sometimes do, I can’t stay asleep. And the dreams I have are horrible: They’re a mosaic of worry and fear. Occasionally there are dreams that are not terrifying — and those dreams are the worst of all, because they make me worry that I’m dead or going to be. One night, I dreamed of building my beloved 89-year-old father-in-law an enormous house. Did it mean he would die or that I would die or that we both would die?
Sometimes life in New York City is disturbingly normal: Recently, the Black Cat That’s What I Do I Read Books I Drink Wine And I Know Things Shirt in other words I will buy this parks were filled with people playing sports and looking healthy. If you squint, everything seems almost normal. In Central Park, the city looks like it’s not bleeding. I still go for my walks with my friend, the Washington Post’s media critic Margaret Sullivan (both of us six feet away from the other) and she tells me why she is also staying put. “Maybe it’s the journalistic instinct,” she says. “New York City is going through a historic moment, and I didn’t want to remove myself from that. I simply want to see it and feel it. And so far, I’m not sorry to be here, though it is breaking my heart every day. It’s heartbreaking to see the signs on the doors of all my favorite places — my hole-in-the-wall Lebanese restaurant, my favorite nail salon, the coffee joint with the perfect music. It’s heartbreaking to know that the homeless people who are usually neighborhood fixtures have retreated inside shelters that probably aren’t safe for them. And it’s frightening and upsetting to read the stories of the hospitals so close to me where people are dying and medical personnel are overwhelmed.”