1 New York’s latest cover featured Alexei Hay’s photograph of a hushed and nearly empty Times Square (“Covid Capital of the World,” April 13–26). NY1’s Jamie Stelter said of Hay’s portfolio, “They look like scenes from a movie. We keep saying that. But they’re beautiful. It’s important to see this. It’s important to remember these images.” Pat Kiernan added, “These are the things we will remember 20 years from now—50 years from now. When we look back at this time, some of those images will be the most powerful.” On Instagram, @musiconlyus commented, “This picture is so devastating, it’s the contrast between the reality and the memories of whom ever visited, lived or loved NYC.” Many readers noticed one Times Square fixture that hasn’t disappeared since the pandemic: @amandalambdalambda joked, “Who knew The Naked Cowboy was an essential worker?”
2 In “The Return of Fear” (April 13–26), Justin Davidson mined New York City’s history of disasters and recoveries to shed light on our current crisis. Urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson, the author of several books on New York City, wrote, “Justin Davidson’s ‘The Return of Fear’ is a succinct and perceptive analysis of why COVID-19 is different from previous disasters in New York’s 400-year history. Whether fires (as in 1776, 1778, or 1835), riots (as in 1863), cholera, AIDS (as in the 1980s), depressions (as in many years but especially 1893 and 1929–1939) or terror attacks (as in 1993 or 2001), the great metropolis has so far endured and even thrived. So it will survive this latest challenge.” David K. Rosner, a Columbia University history professor and expert in public health, added, “Davidson’s elegant piece on the relationship of New Yorkers and disaster posits that we can learn from history and take heart that we will emerge stronger and perhaps more united. I urge a small measure of caution. The social inequities that led to an uneven distribution of suffering — between the wealthy and the poor, the white and the black, the native-born and the immigrant, the large number of disproportionately minority hospital and delivery men and women and the rest of us — continue to scar our city and country.”
3 Lisa Miller profiled an emergency-room doctor at Elmhurst Hospital as part of a series on the New Yorkers at the front lines of this pandemic (“Two Hours Daily to Sanitize, Two Hours to Cry,” April 13–26). sherrybb1 called it “wonderful, terrifying, encouraging, and sad … all at once.” Mario Sundar wrote, “Thanks … for making me tear up again! But what a piece. It is a responsibility to read in-depth articles like this to put ourselves in the shoes of doctors, like Emily Wolfe … who are fighting our war.” Laziguezon reflected, “While Wolfe may not like the term, she and her colleagues are heroes. I wish they, like so many other critical workers, had been properly supported with the necessary PPE items and medical supplies. We are lucky to have such talented and dedicated workers … and I hope they continue to be supported post-pandemic.”
4 Elsewhere in the issue, Benjamin Wallace talked to Estela’s Ignacio Mattos about the headwinds his industry is facing (“When the Restaurants Closed, They Cooked for Each Other,” April 13–26). Grace Stetson wrote that the article showcases “the feelings of many in the restaurant industry.” And fans of Mattos’s around the world voiced support for the restaurateur. From Copenhagen, Lasse Kyed Rasmussen wrote, “Estela is probably one of my favorite restaurants, and this article provides a fascinating but also alarming insight into what happens when a pandemic suddenly forces restaurants to close.” In England, Stevie Mackenzie Smith tweeted, “This, on Ignacio Mattos and his restaurants, is beautiful and includes a kind of mind-blowing breakdown of the real cost of a fancy meal (and the wafer-thin profit margin).”
5 After receiving her copy of New York’s guidebook to sheltering in place (“How to Survive This Plague,” March 30–April 12), Amy Pizarro of San Jose wrote to the magazine’s staff: “TikTok for my 10-year-old, Minecraft for my 8-year-old, and five crosswords for my husband? Thank you for providing a shelter-in-place bright spot for the whole family. Thought you’d enjoy this pic of my kids poring over the Minecraft article below as they hatch a plan to build their elementary school this afternoon.”
*This article appears in the April 27, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!