GayCities encourages you to stay safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you follow all CDC Travel Guidelines and adhere closely to all local regulations regarding face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures.
Through our #SaveOurSpaces campaign, we’re committed to helping LGBTQ places to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Today’s highlighted GoFundMe is for one of the most beloved gay bars in the US, and what is believed to the oldest, continually operating gay bar in New York City.
Julius’ opened in 1867. It began to get a reputation as a gay hangout in the 1950s, something its then-management at the time took steps to try and quell by sometimes refusing to serve people who they knew to be gay. This led to a famous “sip-in” protest in 1966, which led to a change in the local liquor laws that had previously made bars fearful of serving openly gay people. Since that time, it has been one of the best-known, best-loved LGBTQ bars in NYC.
It launched a GoFundMe last year, with owner Helen Buford highlighting the bar’s place in LGBTQ history.
“Julius’ welcomes all people to share in the history and to preserve its legacy. The staff and I are eager to serve you safely once again but we need your help. Any amount you can donate will help with the operating expenses.”
A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!
Caitlyn Jenner is being tipped to make an appearance in the Sex and the City reboot. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty)
Caitlyn Jenner is being tipped to star in HBO Max’s upcoming Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That in an effort to bring some diversity to the show.
The reboot of the classic series was confirmed on 10 January, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis all set to reprise their roles – but Kim Cattrall, who played fan-favourite Samantha Jones, will not be making an appearance.
Much has been made of the lack of diversity in the original run of Sex and the City, which closely followed four white, cisgender, middle-class women as they explored relationships and sex in New York City.
Ever since its original run, fans have been criticising the show for its general failure to represent LGBT+ characters and people of colour in meaningful ways – and many have wondered if And Just Like That will right those wrongs.
Caitlyn Jenner would be ‘perfect for an appearance’ in reboot
Now, an insider has told The Mirror that bosses working on the show want it to be as diverse as possible – and Caitlyn Jenner is being touted as a perfect fit to appear in the new series in an effort to make it more inclusive.
Caitlyn has been a media fixture in one way or another for going on 50 years. She’s really perfect for an appearance.
The insider said that Caitlyn Jenner, who came out publicly as transgender in April 2015, could have a cameo appearance in the Sex and the City reboot.
“Caitlyn has been a media fixture in one way or another for going on 50 years,” the insider said. “She’s really perfect for an appearance.
“They want new faces for the show, but they want people viewers actually know and care about too.”
The news comes as Jenner revealed that she hasn’t become a “spokesperson” for the trans community because many see her as being too “controversial”.
In an interview with The Skinny Confidential Him & Herpodcast, Jenner, 71, said that her background and political beliefs meant she did not receive the warm welcome into the trans community that other public figures, like Elliot Page, did.
Jenner remains a Republican, despite the fact that Donald Trump dedicated much of his presidency to rolling back LGBT+ rights.
Sex and the City spin-off will be made later this year
And Just Like That will comprise of 10 half-hour episodes and is scheduled to kick-off production late spring in New York City, US. Parker, Davis, Nixon and Michael Patrick King will executive produce.
“The new Max Original series is based on the book, Sex and the City, by Candice Bushnell and the original TV series created by Darren Star,” a statement from HBO Max’s parent company WarnerMedia read.
“The series will follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s.”
GayCities encourages you to stay safe during the Covid 19 pandemic. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you follow all CDC Travel Guidelines and adhere closely to all local regulations regarding face coverings, social distancing and other safety measures.
Looking for a socially distanced break? Utah’s ski and snowboard resorts are open, including Salt Lake’s four world-class resorts—Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude—and ready to welcome experts and beginners alike. On and off the slopes, Salt Lake (a.k.a. Ski City) has everything winter revelers would want to enjoy a weekend or weeklong getaway.
Salt Lake’s expansive resorts allow for ample social distancing while Salt Lake’s 20,000+ hotel rooms, thousands of restaurants, and hundreds of bars and nightlife options accommodate those wanting a more intimate apres-ski scene where you can easily stay within the safety of your own pod.
And Visit Salt Lake’s “Salt Lake Bound = FREEdom Found” promotion makes it even easier, and more affordable, to book the ultimate winter vacation featuring some of the best and most accessible skiing and riding in North America, if not the world.
Simply book two nights or more at any number of participating lodging properties and choose the perk that best meets your wants and needs: two (2) free 1-day Super Passes, a free $200 Delta eGift Card, or $100 in Sinclair gas cards.
Salt Lake’s Cottonwood Canyons are home to four of the world’s most iconic resorts, and true “bucket list” resorts for many skiers and snowboarders, each just 45 minutes from Utah’s capital city and even closer for staying at the mouth of either canyon. For those wanting the convenience of ski-in/ski-out lodging, Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude each have their own unique offerings, again with all budgets in mind. Combined, they also boast a few thousand acres for snowboarding and both alpine and cross country skiing for all abilities as well as a number of restaurants and nightlife options from which to choose.
Spelled out, here are five reasons why Salt Lake is the perfect winter getaway right now.
1. The Snow
Utah is home to “The Greatest Snow on Earth ®,” the most critical ingredient to the ultimate winter vacation for skiers and snowboarders alike. And each Cottonwood Canyon resort boasts 500 feet of Utah’s famed powder each and every year, more than just about every other resort in North America.
The stunning peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, where the Cottonwood Canyons and Salt Lake’s iconic resorts are located, offer incredible year-round vistas, made even more spectacular when coated with Mother Nature’s winter bounty.
2. The skiing and snowboarding
Featuring more than 40 feet of snow each year, Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude’s combined 2,000+ acres and 400+ trails are more than enough to satiate every level of skier and snowboarder. There are also miles of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails in both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon.
And with each major airline combining for more than 700 daily flights in and out of the new, $4 billion Salt Lake City International Airport (just 45 minutes from the four Cottonwood Resorts) many featuring non-stop morning arrival flights from major gateway cities, it’s easy to ski or ride the day you arrive and depart, something truly unique to many winter destinations.
3. The après ski scene
After a day riding and playing in Utah’s famed snow, there are plenty of après–ski options, both at the resorts as well as back in Salt Lake City. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta offers a few iconic ski bars, such as the Alta Peruvian, Goldminer’s Daughter and the Sitzmark, while The Cliff Spa at Snowbird presents spectacular sunset views. Or take a dip with a friend or loved one in the outdoor hot tub at Snowpine Lodge at Alta (pictured above).
For an upscale experience at one of Salt Lake’s resorts, multiple fine dining restaurants offer excellent wine lists along with beautiful vistas, and casual pubs are a great place to kick back with friends and enjoy local craft beer. Check out the lists of options at Alta, Brighton (click “services” for list of food and drink spots), Snowbird, and Solitude. For those looking for an urban winter experience, every neighborhood throughout the Salt Lake valley, particularly downtown Salt Lake City, offers seemingly endless dining and drinking options that can be enjoyed via takeout or outdoors.
Regardless of the experience you’re after, please don’t forget your mask in these days of COVID. The State of Utah mandates face-coverings when indoors, except when eating or drinking. Now that the end of the pandemic is in sight, it’s more important than ever to maintain your social distance and use your face coverings.
4. SLC LGBTQ Businesses
Salt Lake City defies conservative stereotypes of the state with a vibrant, bohemian vibe that is a veritable haven for the local LGBTQ local community and visitors. Salt Lake City’s former mayor, Jackie Biskupski, was Utah’s first openly gay elected official, while three members of SLC’s current seven-member city council are gay/queer.
Surprising to many first-time visitors, this liberating energy creates a beautiful and welcoming place to explore microbreweries and the restaurants popular with both locals and the crowds that come to Salt Lake to enjoy its world-class resorts.
Salt Lake also features numerous LGBTQ owned and operated businesses. Gay and gay-friendly bars are located throughout the metropolitan area, but please contact them directly to check on their individual pandemic hours and restrictions during the pandemic.
Try-Angles is a perfect place for newcomers to the Salt Lake scene or anyone exploring the place solo. (If you’re on a tight budget, Try-Angles has $5 beer steins.)
Sun Trapp serves beer in mason jars, and the outdoor patio is as big as the interior, offering plenty of open-air, socially-distanced seating. In the winter, the patio has a heated tent with its own bar inside.
If you want to enjoy some vittles before hitting the town or the comfort of your lodging pillow, Laziz Kitchen menu comes straight from the openly-gay proprietor Moudi Sbeity’s traditional family Lebanese kitchen—adding still more diversity to Salt Lake’s flourishing culinary scene. Based in the Granary district, the eatery is offering takeout and delivery menus during the pandemic.
5. The deals
Again, Visit Salt Lake’s “Salt Lake Bound = FREEdom Found” travel campaign and promotion serves up some incredible offers, where visitors can book two or more nights at either resort hotels or accommodations throughout the Salt Lake valley and get valuable perks such as free lift tickets, gas cards, Delta flight vouchers, and other travel deals. One of the best deals is the Ski City Super Pass, one of the industry’s most flexible and value-laden list passes available and valid at all four of Salt lake’s famed resorts: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude.
Book at least two nights at a resort hotel or Salt Lake valley accommodation and get two 1-day Super Passes for free.
The TV return of Sex & The City is happening. Sarah Jessica Parker, 55, posted an Instagram video last night in her character of Carrie Bradshaw. A montage of shots of New York City is cut against a shot of a computer screen.
The words, “I couldn’t help but wonder…” are typed on the screen. This was a recurring phrase her character used when writing her columns on single life. They’re followed by, “And just like that…”, before “‘The story continues…”
A logo for HBOMax follows, with the hashtag, #SATCNextChapter. In a caption accompanying the video, Parker wrote: “I couldn’t help but wonder… where are they now? X, SJ”
The same video was posted by co-stars Kristen Davis, 55, (Charlotte) and Cynthia Nixon, 54, (Miranda). However, it was not shared by Kim Cattrall, 64 (Samantha), who has already stated in interviews that she was happy not to be included in negotiations about a return of the show.
Related: Twitter is NOT into the idea of a Samantha-less “Sex and the City” reboot
According to USA Today, the 10-episode TV series will have the title And Just Like That. Former writer and director Michael Patrick King will return to executive produce the show, alongside Parker, Davis and Nixon. However, the original series creator, Darren Star, will not be returning. A new showrunner has yet to be announced.
And Just Like That will focus on the women’s lives as, “they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s,” according to an HBO Max news release.
Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content, HBO Max said about the new show: “I grew up with these characters, and I can’t wait to see how their story has evolved in this new chapter, with the honesty, poignancy, humor and the beloved city that has always defined them.”
The statement made no mention of Kim Cattrall or her absence from the show.
Based on Candace Bushnell’s 1996 book, the original Sex & The City ran from 1998 until 2004, and returned for two movies, in 2008 and 2010. A prequel series, The Carrie Diaries, with AnnaSophia Robb as young Carrie Bradshaw, ran for two seasons on the CW starting in 2013.
In 2017, Cattrall said she had turned down the offer of a third S&TC movie, resulting in Warner Bros deciding not to proceed with the project. It’s believed the other lead actresses were disappointed by Cattrall’s decision.
Parker told TV Extra in September of that year, “It’s over. We’re not doing it… I’m disappointed. We had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story. It’s not just disappointing that we don’t get to tell the story and have that experience, but I think more so for that audience that has been so vocal about wanting another movie.”
Later that same year, Cattrall said she would “never” appear in another Sex & The City movie. She told Piers Morgan during a TV interview she had “never been friends” with her co-stars and confirmed there had been tension between her and Parker.
Related: Here’s everything we know about the “Sex and the City” follow-up TV series
The Sex & The City reboot will begin shooting in New York in the late spring. No premiere date has yet been announced.
“People who say change is impossible are usually pretty happy with things just as they are.”
In today’s world, amidst the ongoing tensions caused by the fight for racial equality, isolation from the Coronavirus, and political dissent in the aftermath of a negligent administration, it seems that humanity is more divided than ever. N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became erases those arbitrary borders, and reminds us of the power of diversity and togetherness in the face of adversity and prejudice.
Each city is born, lives and dies. Now, it is New York City’s time to shine. Five individuals, all of varying creeds, races and identities wake up as the manifestation of New York’s boroughs: Brooklyn is a Black rapper turned politician, who fits in time as a single mom alongside her never-ending work for her community; Bronca, or the Bronx, is a Native lesbian who’s not afraid to use her steel-toed boots to protect her love for art; Aislyn of Staten Island is a troubled young woman, weighing her personal worth against her family’s traditional, conservative values; Padmini of Queens is a tech-savvy, happy-go-lucky South Asian immigrant; and Manhattan, or Manny, for short, has fallen head over heels for his city, and is determined to save his love. Brooklyn, Bronca, Aislyn, Manny and Padmini must put aside their struggles to become one New York City. Their task? Defeat a Lovecraftian ‘Karen’ who uses her xenophobic tentacle monsters to infect everyday New Yorkers with contemptuous paranoia, and drive citizen against citizen. This novel is a love letter to New York City, and what it represents: community, dreams and a can-do attitude.
Personally, the characters and their relationships are what makes the novel great. N.K. Jemisin creates characters that you can root for, but also criticize for their flaws, channeling inspiration from Sense8 and Good Omens. Characters clash and connect, and must put aside differences to understand and help one another. The diversity in this book allows the characters to feel like genuine New Yorkers, evocative of the melting pot of the city. Almost every character in the novel is a person of color and/or queer, and their identities influence their borough of the city, and the fight as a whole.
Bronca, the lesbian grandmother of our dreams, is bad-ass, ambitious and impassioned, determined to take no shit and pay it no mind. Bronca is a deeply flawed individual, prone to picking fights with others as a coping mechanism. She stood her ground at Stonewall, at Act-Up, and during today’s rise of right-wing ideology, she becomes the victim of a white supremacist smear campaign over the course of the novel. It is not until she realizes those around her love her and want to help her that she is able to rally her community around her and find justice in their compassion and empathy, demonstrating the importance of queer community.
N.K. Jemisin takes H.P. Lovecraft’s tentacled horror monsters, and makes them her own, utilizing the Cthulu to dramatize the insidious nature of injustice at the heart of modern society. Jemisin’s subversion of Lovecraft allows her to topple a racist institution, and build a new one in its place. Today’s bigotry is dramatized in the form of The Woman in White: a wealthy white woman who gentrifies neighborhoods and disregards those who actually call them home. Jemisin calls out modern day prejudices in all degrees, from internet doxxing, to sideways glances and microaggressions, to outright disrespect and violence.
This is one of the most unique science-fiction novels I’ve read in a long time; it feels fresh and innovative, and dissects real, harsh truths in our society. It describes not only what it means to be a marginalized New Yorker, but what it means to be an American: the desire to fit in and band together as a diverse community, but having to face discrimination at your front door. N.K. Jemisin is THE science-fiction writer to look out for, as she combines the classic hallmarks of the genre with allusions to current events, imbuing her narratives with humor and candor. So, queue up Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer and buckle up for a wild romp around New York City.
Trigger Warnings: Racism, homophobia, hate crimes, use of slurs, gaslighting, white supremacist ideology, Nazi ideology
1552 was a very special year for the city and castle in Eger.
Since 1526, Hungary was under Turkish attack and all the settlements in the area were conquered one by one. The Hungarian army was crushed. By the time the invaders reached the city of Eger, there weren’t many soldiers left to defend the stronghold.
Budapest had already been conquered years before and not much resistance was expected when the invaders prepared to conquer the other cities in the country.
The Hungarians stood their ground, but the defence looked poorly. Little over 2000 people were holding the castle and they were attacked by a massive Ottoman army.
The defenders were only a few soldiers, but mainly peasants and women: the women of Eger!
The battles lasted little over a month and the invaders had to retreat because they suffered many casualties and they could not make their way into the fortress.
Because of this heroic siege, Eger has become the national symbol of patriotic heroism, because their small group of citizens defended their grounds against an army of 35.000 heavily armed attackers.
I live under the flight path of JFK Airport, and I am used to hearing the roaring noise of planes descending over Brooklyn as they are making their way to New York’s largest airport – usually every few minutes. Right now, however, I hear barely any planes, and what used to be a familiar sound now startles me every time it occurs. The sound of airplanes over New York City has become rare – which is something that I didn’t think was even possible.Empty street in Brooklyn
But that’s only one of the many changes that I’m experiencing in New York City right now, one of the many things I am getting used to as I am adjusting to what’s referred to as “the new normal” by the media. When I leave my apartment to go grocery shopping, I don’t double check anymore if I have my wallet and my lip balm – instead, I am checking if I have my face mask and my hand sanitizer. I didn’t even carry hand sanitizer on me on a daily basis until only a month ago. And the only reason I even own a small bottle of hand sanitizer is because a friend of mine happened to find a few bottles in her parents’ pantry (finally, their hoarding of pretty much everything for an “emergency” was paying off.). Because a month ago, it was absolutely impossible to find hand sanitizer anywhere in New York City.On 10 March, a friend of mine arrived in New York; she was visiting from Europe. When she boarded her flight in Spain, she didn’t expect to be scrambling to get on a flight back to Europe just ten days later – cutting her 3-week U.S. trip considerably short. But when she arrived, New York City was still “open”. We were able to do some sightseeing, we had dinner at TimeOut Market, we climbed the Vessel, we walked the High Line. On 12 March, I took the subway after work to meet my friend to see a Broadway show when I got a text message that all Broadway theaters were closing until further notice – effective immediately. I was in disbelief. All Broadway theaters closed.. had that ever happened before? I knew what this meant: the city would shut down completely, it wouldn’t stop at the theaters.And within days, everything in New York City changed. In less than a week, the entire city had transformed: TimeOut Market closed two days after we ate there, the High Line closed, all the museums closed. Schools and universities closed. On 15 March it was announced that all restaurants would be closing on 17 March (with the option to stay open for take-out and delivery).When I walked through my neighborhood the day after restaurants and bars closed, it already felt considerably emptier. New Yorkers were bracing themselves for a “shelter in place” order, which basically meant a lockdown of NYC. Most of the shops were already closed. Back then, New York City had “only” around 800 Coronavirus cases, and a handful deaths. A week later, New York City had 15,000 Coronavirus cases.
Now, four weeks later, walking through my neighborhood feels strange. New York has been on lockdown since 20 March. All the shops have their roll-down gates down, barely any people are outside. It is eerily quiet. I take a stroll around the neighborhood and see some people outside the few shops that are still open. They all have hand-drawn signs on their doors, stating how many people are allowed inside at a time. Some stores allow four people, others only two. Most people cover their mouths with face masks, while others use bandanas or scarves to cover their mouths and noses. Every once in a while, I see someone without a face mask.While walking through this strange new world, I keep hearing sirens. They come and go, but they are recurring. A constant reminder of the fact that I am not walking through the movie set of a post-apocalyptic thriller, but that this is still very much New York City. A city that, sadly, has been hit harder than any other city in the world by COVID-19. Every time an ambulance passes me, I can’t help but think of the person inside the ambulance. A month after the “Shelter in place” order went into effect, New York City has just under 139,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases, and over 10,000 people have died. Over 10,000 people in my city have died from COVID-19 in less than a month – let that sink in for a moment.It didn’t take very long for me to be personally affected by this virus: while my friend from Europe was still in town mid-March, someone close to me started feeling very ill. All the symptoms sounded like COVID-19, and she went straight to the doctor. There, they ruled out a number of flu strains, and told her that she probably has Coronavirus, but at the time, they didn’t have any tests to verify their suspicion. They told her to go home to self-quarantine for 14 days, since her symptoms weren’t severe enough for hospitalization.
Since I was still feeling well and was able to leave the house to pick up groceries, I became her personal delivery person, supplying her regularly with fresh produce and the occasional treat, to keep her spirits alive. Seeing her struggle through this disease, which took the typical course of first improving before symptoms worsening a week later, made me even more scared of the virus than I already was. A field hospital had been erected in Central Park to treat overflow Coronavirus patients that hospitals had run out of room for, and a similar makeshift hospital had been set up inside the Javits Convention Center in Manhatten. My biggest fear was ending up in one of these field hospitals, so other than the occasional grocery haul I stayed away from people as possible, and I became so obsessed with washing my hands that my skin started to suffer.I thought I had seen the worst when I saw a person being taken out of an ambulance outside the local hospital one day, a person that looked to be in such a bad state that at first, I didn’t even know if they were alive. But then I saw the morgue trucks. What I saw first was a flower bouquet on the ground, and a big poster thanking the healthcare workers. I wondered why they’d left the flowers there, on the side of the road, when I noticed the humming coming from a truck right behind the sign. And that’s when it hit me. This was one of these morgue trucks in which they stored the bodies that they didn’t have room for inside the hospital’s morgue. I had a hard time breathing when I realized I was standing in front of a truck filled with corpses.These images – the morgue trucks, the sick person on the stretcher, but also my sick friend who I’d see every week through the entrance glass door of her building, and whose face looked ashen, with hollow eyes – are images I cannot erase from my brain, and probably will never forget. The sound of sirens will always remind me of these dark times, and I am not the only one. “I feel their presence in my body as an ever-increasing tightness in my shoulders and neck. It is as though, around the clock, the city itself were wailing for its sick and dying.”, writes Lindsay Zoladz in her New York Times article about the ever-present sirens.Going grocery shopping has turned from a routinely task into a wearying and sometimes nerve-wrecking undertaking (depending on how many people decide to shop that day, ie. how many people I come in contact with) that requires preparation and caution. Before I leave my house, I have to make sure that I have some wipes in my bag, my mask, hand sanitizer and gloves. Then I make my way to the grocery store on the bike, no matter if it is raining or hailing – I have only used the subway once since the “shelter at home” order went into effect, and that was when I did my first big quarantine shop. I wasn’t even supposed to be here in New York when the city started shutting down, so my fridge and my pantry were as deserted as the shelves in the supermarkets.That first shop was so big that I wasn’t able to haul it back home on a bike, which is why I took the subway for two stops. But I shouldn’t have been nervous about it: There were barely any people on the train. Every time I went out do my grocery shopping, the restrictions got tighter. First, they limited the amount of people inside the store, which is how I ended up in a line that went all the way down the block one time, thinking to myself in panic, “I am too close to too many people.” The next time I ventured outside for groceries, they had drawn lines on the sidewalk with chalk, marking the required six feet safety distance in between each person. These markers were also added inside the grocery store, so that when you get in line at the checkout, you keep your distance, as well.Since 16 April, masks have been mandatory when entering a grocery store. A day later, on 17 April, the governor announced that “New York on Pause”, which had initially been issued until 30 April, would be extended until 15 May – for now. That means a total of nearly nine weeks of New York City on pause. And to be honest, I don’t think that New York City will ease restrictions in mid-May – at least not to the extent that life in New York City as we know it will be possible.Last weekend I ventured into Manhattan for the first time since the lockdown started, and it was a bizarre experience. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, which was deserted. It was a beautiful spring day, and normally, the bridge would’ve been packed with tourists. Chinatown felt like a ghost town. I only saw two restaurants that were open there, and I saw almost no people out on the street. I cycled up Broadway in SoHo, where you usually find hundreds of shoppers on any given day, but Broadway was empty. I passed only a few people who were taking their dog out for a walk or ran some errands. Some shops were boarded up completely, as if they were expecting looting and riots. This just added to the dystopian feel SoHo had.Chinatown feels like a ghost town
I rode my bike past Washington Square Park and Union Square, which, again, would’ve been busy on a sunny spring day. I missed the familiar sounds you usually hear in these places: singing buskers, chatter, laughter, the hip hop music that the dancers usually blast from small portable speakers. The only places that were busy were the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s supermarkets, where people lined up outside. A few blocks further north, in Madison Square Park, a few people were sitting in the park, and there was a line in front of Eataly, but the little square right across the Flatiron Building was deserted.The line outside a grocery store
Grand Central Terminal felt like a shadow of its former self. On a regular day, you’d see thousands of people rush through the Grand Concourse, on the way to or from their train. Now, all I could think was how strangely quiet it was. The only people in the station that day were people who wanted to take photos of the abandoned station. Instead of announcing train departures, the announcements that came through the speakers were all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.Grand Central Terminal completely deserted
I walked over to Times Square, and 42nd Street was so empty that I could’ve walked in the middle of the street. Normally, this is one of the most congested streets in Manhattan. Experiencing the city “on mute” was heartbreaking. Not only the hustle and bustle of the city had disappeared, but also that pulsating energy that makes New York feel so unique. There’s usually a vibrancy in the air that makes me walk with a spring in my step, and it made me realize how much of New York’s energy comes from its busy street life. The hot dog vendors, the yelling of people, the traffic noise, even the honking of the cars.Silent New York is not the same. You don’t realize how much things like cafes, street kiosks, restaurants, bodegas, and street vendors contribute to the overall atmosphere of a city until they’re gone. Seeing the Broadway theaters shuttered was depressing – theaters, comedy clubs and other performance venues are such a big part of the social life in New York.Times Square without any tourists was something I never thought I’d see. Even when I walked through Times Square at 5.30am in a snowstorm a few years ago, there were more people around than now. I also never thought I’d say this: Times Square without any tourists feels kind of dull.I’ll be the first one to admit that I curse the crowds every time I have to pass through Times Square on the way to something, but seeing it so empty changed the entire atmosphere. The ever so bustling area felt like a sleepy square. The only two things that were the same: The glitzy billboards which were still advertising clothes companies and streaming services, and the Naked Cowboy, who was entertaining the few people that were lingering in Times Square.Instead of souvenirs, the street vendors are now selling hand sanitizer and face masks
What’s the most devastating about the city on lockdown is how many people’s livelihoods are affected or even destroyed by this pandemic. My heart breaks for all the owners of the small independent shops, the bodegas, the coffee shops and restaurants that contribute so much to the lively, social atmosphere of New York City. They are now struggling to pay the rent for their shops while they cannot use them, they had to lay off employees, and they may not even be able to reopen their businesses. Every week I read about restaurants that announce will not re-open, about people who were laid off and aren’t able to pay their rent and bills now. Over 40% of layoffs related to COVID-19 happened in the restaurant industry. In a city with a restaurant scene as thriving as New York City, the impact of the lockdown is absolutely devastating. Over half a million restaurant workers are out of work right now in New York State – and this number is still growing.Life in New York is never easy, even when the economy is doing great, a lot of people work harder than elsewhere to make ends meet. But now, with the city heading into a recession, piling up debt, life in New York will be even challenging, and it’ll take a long time for things to go back to normal. And what does that even mean, normal? Nobody even knows what the “post-COVID-19 normal” will look like. When will the theaters be able to re-open? When can we go to bars and restaurants again and will it be possible the same way it was pre-COVID-19? Will sports bars be ever as packed again for major sports events as they were before this pandemic? When will we be able to enjoy concerts again and watch a baseball game in Yankees Stadium? When will tourists return to New York?All large parades scheduled for June, including New York Pride, have been canceled. It was announced that public pools wouldn’t open at all in 2020. Beaches may not open this summer either. This summer will not be like any other summer, because most of the things that make New York in the summer so great will not be possible: enjoying beaches, rooftop bars, outdoor concerts and movies, having drinks in a backyard patio of a bar, strolling around flea markets and street fairs. The unemployment rate in NYC was at around 4.3 per cent before COVID-19: in the entire month of February, 137,391 people filed for unemployment in New York City. In the first week of the lockdown, 521,112 claims were filed. That’s more than three times the amount of claims the city usually sees in a month. Unemployment claims have now increased by 2,637%. During the financial crisis in 2008, the entire state of New York lost around 300,000 jobs. New York City alone has already lost more jobs than that. The Mayor of New York City is facing a projected $7.4 billion deficit in the city budget (mostly in lost tax revenue) and the economic impact of COVID-19 can be compared to the Great Depression. This deficit means that many city programs will be canceled, for example summer camp programs and the youth employment program which usually enrolls about 75,000 low-income students. Even when this pandemic is over, New York City will struggle to get back to its former glorious self. But instead of with a depressing and gloomy outlook on post-COVID-19 New York City, I want to finish this article with this beautiful video and the optimistic words of New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo:
“And we’re going to get through it because we are New York, and because we’ve dealt with a lot of things, and because we are smart. You have to be smart to make it in New York. And we are resourceful, and we are showing how resourceful we are. And because we are united, and when you are united, there is nothing you can’t do. And because we are New York tough. We are tough. You have to be tough. This place makes you tough. But it makes you tough in a good way. We’re going to make it because I love New York, and I love New York because New York loves you.
New York loves all of you. Black and white and brown and Asian and short and tall and gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That’s why I love New York. It always has, it always will. And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always. And it will win again through this virus.”
After months of teasing – it’s finally here. ????????This past week we launched EveryQueer Magazine with Brooklyn’s hottest DJ Amber Valentine at one of the most popular queer parties in NYC. In all, we managed to get about 200 people through the doors of Misster Weds at The Woods to celebrate a brand new adventure in independent queer publishing.
At EveryQueer.com our team is focused on inspiring people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender presentations to think differently about the global queer community through a lens of travel, culture, and activism. Our hope is to ultimately build a bridge between queer people across identities and borders. This party will be the first of many events to come from the EveryQueer family. We can’t wait to see you at the next one. Big thanks to Grace Chu for the photos.
Travel With a Rad Group of Queers
Subscribe to get the latest information about our group tours.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.
Meg Ten Eyck is a queer gal with expensive dreams and a whole lot of hustle.Meg is extremely gay and entirely addicted to travel. Like, we’re talking Pride Parade gay – if they made a Meg Barbie her one accessory would be her rainbow flag and a copy of the feminist manifesto – THAT kinda gay. You can find her traveling the world or through her writings and ramblings @MegTenEyck