Any little bit of snow is exciting news here in New York City where we used to get several big blizzards a year, but now, not so much. So in anticipation I went out for an early morning stroll and had such a lovely walk. I made a video of my morning outing and just posted it on my YouTube Channel: Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand.
As often happens when I’m video taping while exploring New York City, I ended up reminiscing about when I was a Parsons School of Design student, a roommate who used to keep a pair of cross-country skis in her apartment and would ski down Fifth Avenue when a good storm ripped through the city. I remembered a trip my husband and I took to Iceland, and three days into it, I fell and shattered my right elbow. The photo below was after I’d had it stabilized, so that we could continue our trip.
As I strolled along the snowy New York City streets I decided to wander over to Madison Square Park and then found some old photos of the Victory Arch that was built just to the north of 23rd Street and the Flatiron building. The arch, celebrating the end of the first World War, was subsequently torn down.
A few photos of my walk, but if you want to see more and hear about my various adventures, watch the Youtube video I just posted.
These days we hardly get any snow at all, so this storm was greeted with a lot of eagerness and excitement, by young and old. The two photographs below are from a snow storm we had in February, 2009.
New Yorkers are a resourceful group for the most part, but we are also impatient, easily distracted, and busy. We are very, very busy. Don’t ask us what’s our hurry, you’ll be met with a bleary-eyed scowl of contempt. Don’t believe me? Ever walked down a street in mid-town Manhattan in the middle of the day? Everyone is rushing. People dart, purposefully, in and out of any who seem to have all the time in the world – aka tourists. You take your life in your hands just to walk a few blocks. At least this was the case before. Before #stayathome was a thing. Before our streets looked like this…
You can always tell the New Yorker from the rest of the pedestrians. We’re the ones who are waiting for the light to change like race horses out of the starting gate, jockeying for position, ensuring we’re the first to begin crossing seconds before the light actually changes, because that’s what we do. It’s in our blood. Even those of us who weren’t born and raised in New York City, that need to get across the street before the rest of the pack, and don’t kid yourself, it is a need; it’s part of our DNA. It’s probably what attracted us to NYC in the first place.
So telling us that we must stay home, not for weeks, but for months and months, that we mustn’t venture out unless we are in need of something essential, which might explain the run on toilet paper (for actual reasons see note below) merely an excuse to leave the house – is cruel and unusual punishment. Picture a race horse cooped up in a tiny stall for months on end and you’ll get a good idea of what it’s like for NYers. By the way, race horses are routinely given small animals to placate them, like a goat, sheep or chicken and though we’re not allowed to keep such animals in our homes here in New York City, dog walking has never seemed more enticing and exciting.
Which also explains why a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s feels like a thrilling adventure. My husband and I refer to it as a “date”. As in, “hey honey, want to go out?” And the other responds, “Absolutely, which will it be?”
“I was thinking of shaking things up!”
“What do you say we head over to Gristede’s just to take a look.”
“Going downmarket, are we?”
“I can do Wholefoods, just thought it’d be fun to spread the love.”
“Absolutely! Gristede’s will be fun!”
And off we go, hand in hand, reveling in our courage and sheer inventiveness to try new things, still, after so many decades of marriage.
This is what the lockdown has done to us. We are a changed group. New Yorkers, known for their edginess are becoming downright pedestrian. We wear sweatpants and wander around in slippers, our hair unbrushed, sometimes for days. When we venture out we stroll, no longer needing to rush, we stop in the middle of the street to take photographs of flowers and our city, now unrecognizable. We smile at each other, even stop to chat with complete strangers. We even wave to our neighbors. People we’ve never exchanged two words with, we now know their names and the names of their children and pets. We know intimate details about each other, such as whether we tested positive for antibodies. I’m telling you, it’s a changed world…
*Fun Fact: I did a little research and learned that one of the main reasons there continues to be a run on TP is due to the fact that everyone is now at home and not going into their offices, which stock an inferior type of TP, versus the coveted TP most of us prefer. Evidently the machines producing the inferior, industrial brand TP are different from the machines churning out the more luxurious, cushiony and soft TP we use at home and therefore the production is not able to keep up with demand. For those of you wanting to know more – https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/04/08/coronavirus-shortage-where-has-all-the-toilet-paper-gone/2964143001/
For seven days I did not step foot outside our loft. Since the pandemic became known as such, I have ventured out only occasionally. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I tested negative to having COVID19 antibodies, and yet, weirdly I was. And perhaps even odder, I felt both relieved and disappointed simultaneously. Disappointed because knowing that I’d been exposed, and weathered it, would have given me some degree of comfort, but now, knowing that I have not, makes me even more inclined to continue my #stayhomestaysafe poster girl endeavors.
Of course there’s always the possibility that the vile of blood I gave was switched mistakenly with someone else’s or the test itself could have given a false negative or… But if I’m being reasonable, chances are I have not been infected. Which is a little surprising considering that I live in New York City, with a population of over 8.5 million people, making each and every one of us likely super spreaders simply by going about our daily routine. A routine that might include, depending upon how active we are, all, or at least a few, of the following: gym, errands such as the post office, grocery shopping, work related meetings, entertainment related outings such as a Broadway show, dance performance, music concert, museum, art gallery, walking the High Line, having dinner with friends or any number of other things one might do in this vibrant, beautiful city I call home.
Everywhere one looks, spring is on full display, inspiring me to think of designs and stitches and colors and shapes.
The beauty of our world continues even as this pandemic rages on. And so does the artistry and creative expression of our fellow humans. My mother sent this to me the other day… Evidently a librarian arranged these books to be read from left to right.
And here are a few of my latest circles that I have been designing, using Sue Spargo’s #Instastitchwithsue project as inspiration for a wool applique 1″ circle and the stitches and threads that embellish it. As Sue will be removing her videos from instagram once the 90 days are over, I have been using my videos to explore threads, stitches and the creative process.
Stay safe everyone and keep creating!
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Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane