Happy New Year, neighbors. Have you ever in your life been happier to slam the door shut on a year?
There is always hope, anticipation, and refreshment in the embrace of a January first. We didn't have the crazy post-holiday hubbub to heighten the anticipation of NYE this year. And of course the Times Square situation was transformed by you-know-what. It's just different.
I chose this lovely NYC rooftop picture as the way to ring in 2021. Taken by neighbor Bill Altham a few years back, the image of a cozy snowfall, perhaps a day dawning -- perhaps waning -- the lights of neighboring apartments scintillating in the crisp winter duskiness, all conjure up the current interior lives of New Yorkers. The ones we've become intimately familiar with as we changed pace under Mother Nature's huge "STOP" sign.
It's a little Hopperesque in the way it telegraphs solitude. This year, we've all been there: seated near the window, looking out in the wee hours, searching for another being, breathing in masklessly from a safe perch, breathing out patiently asking for 'serenity now' as we motor through what was not conceivable to us one year ago today. Yet all the signs were there, and by January 1 of last year, our Annus covidus was foreordained.
It was a tremendously painful year. Our country has collectively decided not to dwell on the unquantifiable losses but to focus on the upbeat news of coming vaccinations. But I take homefield pride in how our neighborhood banded together: masking up, helping each other, supporting local businesses, dining out gamely come wind and rain, gratefully acknowledging essential workers, particularly at 7pm. I have profound respect for every worker in every shop, on every subway train, and on the frontlines. I have profound sorrow for and solidarity with every business owner struggling to make it to the pandemic's end. And respect for any landlord who has forgiven rent or worked with commercial tenants caught in the clutches of the insta-nightmare that befell us early last year.
Most poetic, most powerful, most beautiful, most lasting was how a state of illbeing -- catalyzed by the inequities of covid's toll -- helped power the voices of Black Lives Matter and woke us from our sleepwalk.
We have come to. We cannot go backwards again. We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Welcome to 2021, Bloomingdalers. May it find and keep you healthy. And may our elbow bumps soon transform into handshakes, hugs.