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Penguin

City Life Now

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I'd like to hear from fellow city dwellers about how things are going in your area.

I live on one of the busiest streets of a small, tourist city. Our state started to reopen last week, and the foot traffic has increased considerably even though sit-down dining is still closed. Retail is open at reduced capacity. Bars are still closed.

I've only lived in this city for three years, but I have been living in a downtown setting for about 10 years now. Generally speaking, I love city life. Of course, it has been eerily quiet for two months now and I really missed the energy of the city.

But now I am nervous about all the people that are soon going to be swarming the streets. Once everything opens up, it will be hard to even get out the door in a socially distanced manner. 

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It looks like everything everywhere is open but I don't do things. I had to go to Wal-Mart but I can't wear a mask and no one questioned me. 98% of people had them on. We go to an open field often with the kids and no one wears them. Traffic seems heavier, but not 100% yet.

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Oh! And my church is at maybe 10% of normal. Pastor is live streaming and says to stay home unless you feel like you should come. We have some elderly and fragile and a lot of healthy people that just don't want to come.

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Our lives are pretty much back to normal (almost).  It's busy out there.  Traffic all over the place.  Our kids' sports and activities started back up last week.  Track started, ballet started.  We did go to church today and it was about half.  The pastor even mentioned he's noticing that about half of us are coming to church (he wasn't being condescending, he was just saying that out of curiosity).  

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I live in a very dense inner city neighborhood. We have the highest number of cases of any neighborhood in a city that is currently a hot spot.

It's... interesting. The city has closed the major roads into the parks and has national guard patrols for a couple of the big city parks to enforce distancing. Masks are required in all stores. Only essential stores open. Others can do curbside pickup now. There are lines to get in every store nearly all the time now. Like, sometimes you don't see a line early in the morning or right near closing, but most of the time there's a line. There are lines to go in the farmer's markets too. They rope off the whole market and you can't pick your own produce anymore. You tell them what you want and they get it for you.

Mask usage on the street is pretty high. I'd say about 50-70% of people on the street walking are wearing masks. Less for the joggers  and cyclists. It's impossible to distance on the sidewalks. They have closed some roads and lanes to expand sidewalks and are looking at doing more. But people are definitely walking in the street a good bit more too.

The parks are downright crowded. We have been struggling in our big wild city park, which we usually have to ourselves unless it's a nice weekend or something. Like, even the green spaces are crowded. A lot of people don't have yards so they're decamping to the bits of green that exist. Like, yesterday, I went for a walk and I saw four people all spaced out on a tiny green triangle of a space (like, a large yard size) at a three way intersection. The elementary school two blocks from us had at least half a dozen groups of people and a couple of individuals using the lawn to picnic. Ds was very judgy about them. But I think they were probably all people quarantining together. My 'hood has a lot of group houses and single young people. Folks I know like that have a bubble with maybe half a dozen others - their roommates and maybe another set of roommates. They're still limiting a lot, but I get that it can look "not good."

The city capped delivery fees for Grubhub, etc. Lots of restaurants doing interesting things - limited and family menus. Lots of restaurants doing pantry with their takeout. You can get baking staples, hand sanitizer, even meat and bread. Stock is fine in stores for the most part now though. 

My neighborhood's homeless guys all have masks, but they've stopped wearing them for the most part. A lot of the homeless people I regularly see disappeared - mostly the immigrants who used to hang around my grocery store and all the families have disappeared, which seems to be good  because I'm pretty sure the city has housed them from what I read. I still see the old school drug users and the mentally ill guys a lot, not wearing their masks.

City services have mostly been pretty good. I'm not unhappy with the job they're doing, even if some things aren't working so well.

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I'll add. I LOVE city living most of the time. Love it. But a friend shared a tweet yesterday that was something like...

You know those days when you need a change a pace so you walk to a crowded cafe with your laptop to work for several hours. Then you walk to the grocery store on your way home to see if anything looks good. But it doesn't. And you run into a friend outside the store and end up going for drinks around the corner?

And I swear, I nearly burst into tears. Because that's not exactly my life, but gosh, it captures something about being in a city that is just GONE right now. And it's hella stressful to go out all the time now. And I'm so so lucky that we do have a small patio and a bit of a yard. But this has been trying. I've never questioning living in a city like I have in the last two months.

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Other city things. Lots of pro-mask graffiti. And lots of chalk graffiti with inspirational quotes. Lots of neighborhood based "neighbors helping neighbors" signs up. We have been taking walks in cemeteries. They're mostly empty, unlike the parks.

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We are still under stay-at-home and there are very significantly fewer people who would normally be working/shopping/etc in the business/shopping districts.  There are the same number of people hanging out &/or living in public spaces in those areas.  I am very cautious about where I go when I'm alone. 

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'll add. I LOVE city living most of the time. Love it. But a friend shared a tweet yesterday that was something like...

You know those days when you need a change a pace so you walk to a crowded cafe with your laptop to work for several hours. Then you walk to the grocery store on your way home to see if anything looks good. But it doesn't. And you run into a friend outside the store and end up going for drinks around the corner?

And I swear, I nearly burst into tears. Because that's not exactly my life, but gosh, it captures something about being in a city that is just GONE right now. And it's hella stressful to go out all the time now. And I'm so so lucky that we do have a small patio and a bit of a yard. But this has been trying. I've never questioning living in a city like I have in the last two months.

 

Yeah. I know exactly what that's talking about. That's kind of like my life in NYC, a lot of the time. Maybe no drinks with friends, but I see people from the neighborhood around all the time. It's a very tight-knit feel. And I love working at neighborhood coffee shops. And meeting up with people at neighborhood parks. 

And here in NYC, we're still closed and we're still staying in. And I'm grateful for it. It looks like we'll be on track for Phase 1 of reopening fairly shortly, and I don't know if that's good or bad. Probably good, but it'll stress me out. 

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@Farrar I am about an hour north of you. Many of our weekend tourists come in from your city. In turn, many of our residents commute to your city by train. One of my favorite things to do is spend the day in your city. You can probably figure out from that where I am, but if not feel free to PM me.

Normal life for me was walking to the library, live theater, free concerts in the park, cafes and restaurants, and my yoga studio. I loved the busy streets and the noise. We don't have a yard, but fortunately our apartment does have a nice terrace. By chance, my 83 year old mom has been self-isolating with us, so we have kept a very tight isolation bubble. We haven't been inside a store of any sort since March 13, and I have not interacted with anyone outside of my household since this began.

Masks are required within shops, but most people take them off the second they are back out on the street.

Everything I love about living in the city is currently either gone or now it frightens me. I'm having a hard time reckoning with that. 

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11 minutes ago, Penguin said:

@Farrar I am about an hour north of you. Many of our weekend tourists come in from your city. In turn, many of our residents commute to your city by train. One of my favorite things to do is spend the day in your city. You can probably figure out from that where I am, but if not feel free to PM me.

Normal life for me was walking to the library, live theater, free concerts in the park, cafes and restaurants, and my yoga studio. I loved the busy streets and the noise. We don't have a yard, but fortunately our apartment does have a nice terrace. By chance, my 83 year old mom has been self-isolating with us, so we have kept a very tight isolation bubble. We haven't been inside a store of any sort since March 13, and I have not interacted with anyone outside of my household since this began.

Masks are required within shops, but most people take them off the second they are back out on the street.

Everything I love about living in the city is currently either gone or now it frightens me. I'm having a hard time reckoning with that. 

Yep. I can imagine where you are.

I feel like I'm adjusting. I'm not sure yet where I'll land. We've been isolating... but I go to the grocery store every two weeks and we get takeout once a week or so. And we go outside. In the last week, we've all been having some outside social interactions - one person, backyard, just chatting across the yard. The new information about the risks outside have made us less worried. The first few weeks, we couldn't find empty spaces so we barely went out at all. Now, we're much more blase about being outside. As long as we're moving or interacting at a distance with someone who has also been pretty cautious... it's getting a bit easier. But it's still frustrating and sad. But then every time I think about leaving, I get sad about the idea of leaving our city haven. I love our neighborhood, even if it is 'rona central right now.

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You know that question "Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?" My answer is "I prefer the city!"

I live in a city, my most memorable travels have been to cities, and in my daydreams I live in a very big city. If my whole perception changes, that's going to be very unsettling. I have finally started going out for walks, but it is still stressful. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

People have a habit of lingering in front our door to the street, and that really stresses me out.

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We're in a large midwest city and it is sad to be living here without the things that drew us here. DC aren't using public transportation, all the museums and cultural events are shut, we can't even go to the best (and nearest) parks. We have a small backyard, and have been eating outside as much as possible.

For a while, the streets seemed quieter, but that seems to be down. There have been shouting matches on the street nearby recently. I called 9-1-1 once, two weeks ago, for a domestic dispute that had moved to the streets. DH called 9-1-1 this morning for a similar event. We have never before called 9-1-1 in the 7 years we've lived here.

We've been getting groceries delivered every other week. Once a month from Aldi for basics and to stock up and once a month from a local mom and pop market for everything else and a ton of good produce. My favorite thing about living in a city was walking everywhere, but with more people home, the sidewalks are too packed for comfort. We stay on our private cul-de-sac (yes, they exist in the city) and walk around it, 12 laps to a mile.

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I am a very urban person and our family is like that. DH and I try to avoid driving if we can and so we used to use a lot public transportation be it the city bus or the metro. We park and ride a lot around the city. We go to food festivals, occasional farmer's market, have museum memberships, concerts, sporting events, rodeos, fairs, botanical gardens. We used to go out to eat a lot outside in various restaurants of different cuisines all within our neighborhood walking distance and we know a lot of them personally, shopped a lot in small businesses like ethnic grocery stores and small businesses. We also were frequent library patrons.  We had a backyard we hardly used and were heavy gym users, I swam year round almost every day. My children had lots of activities.

Now we have a backyard and very thankful for green space. Grocery is almost exclusively delivery by amazon I could cry since I miss my chinese fishmonger or my arabic grocer or my Indian store lady who knew me by sight and my preferences. Since we are in a region where the number of cases are high for our state, people mask up, sanitize groceries even the mail. People wear masks diligently but wear them wrong and don't cover their noses so there is that. But we have space to walk, exercise. We slowly bought equipment like a badminton "court" and play tennis and volleyball too. We also have a basketball hoop. We bought a backyard tent. 

We take long drives now, we hardly ever drove before.No library. Backyard is a life saver. We used to have people over all the time. Send food over to neighbors and have dinner regularly with the family we are closest to in our neighborhood. Now we put plates on our front porch of our neighbors and they keep a covered plate for us. We exchange food that way that too only recently. We sit outside and eat occasionally on the front porch facing our neighbors having dinner "together". After nagging our Arabic store grocery was finally able to get curbside delivery because they are small and not very technically savvy. My state has opened up, but not much traffic even today. Pools will open at 25% capacity not sure about lockers as I did not look into that. Mostly carryout and curbside, but patios I think are open at 25% capacity, did not look into that. We cook almost exclusively at home now. We exercise at home.

I miss the people most of all. The ethnic grocery store people who knew me and would greet me with a 'namaste'. I had a "usual" everywhere I went and people knew how I liked my meat cut or fish cleaned. My children learned to greet people in their language. I just miss that so much. I want so much these small businesses to survive. We keep in touch. We have barely started ordering out now slowly. Masked to go to some ethnic stores. I love city living and want it back so much. 

 

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Thank you for your updates - I really appreciated them.

I can't find any info on our Sunday morning Farmer's Market. I don't know if there are plans to have it or not. I did manage to find a CSA that will deliver downtown, and I am eager for that to begin. It was supposed to start in May but got delayed to June. 

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Interesting thread!  We recently moved back to the city after raising our family in a small rural town.  I LOVE city living, and seem to thrive on the people and activity.  We even live in a high-rise now!  In our state capital.  It's been very strange...  I go for a couple walks a/day, and when the lock-down first happened, it was eerily quiet.  I'd stroll the streets of our neighborhood with our dog, and sometimes feel like we were the only living souls on the planet.  Our state is being very cautious about opening up again, so even though things ARE slowly opening, there isn't much of a change in the evenings except for the increase of homeless people on the street.  It's generally just dog walkers and homeless people outside at night now.  I don't usually avoid them (the homeless) ~  I like to be able to acknowledge them, if I feel safe, but it's very different than before since other people aren't around outside at night.  Many more people are out in the daytime now though, taking walks.  I love that.   Everyone is very careful about keeping their distance though.  Some restaurants have take out now, and more are allowed to have outdoor table service on June 1.  I look forward to that day, and I plan to support those restaurants.  I want them to make it.  (Many restaurants in our city have permanently closed now.)    I realize that I'm a very people-person so little things to stay connected with the "outside world" mean a lot.

 

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This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

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I LOVE living in a city.  Though I live in a more old style neighborhood with closely spaced old homes, alleys, and sidewalks.  I am in a city in a top 20 metro.  I appreciate all the supports in place for small businesses and struggling families.  Traffic is picking up.  I am nervous.  We're still going up with numbers.  And by numbers I mean hospitlizations/ICU for covid is going up.  Our testing numbers are still ramping up so it is not surprising those numbers are still going way up.  There are many many more cases not being identified I am sure.  

In general, I am glad to be where I am.  I am glad I can get grocery delivery and curbside pick up places without too much effort.  I love that businesses and kid's activities, etc are breaking all sorts of molds to stay in touch with their communities.   Our church (UU) announced this week that they are planning to be online through next spring.  No large groups in building, though I think they will allow some small groups in the bigger spaces.  I'm sure they could back away from that if it burns through faster.  

I am outdoors walking every day.  We live near a campus that makes a fine place to be socially distant on foot right now.

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We opened back up 2 weeks ago with a max group size of ten and 1 meter social distancing still required. (Bars had an additional restriction that all patrons must be seated.) We open up to groups of 100 starting Friday midday which will now allow religious groups to meet.  

What I have found so far is that even in a safe place (3 new cases in 14 days, 97% of all cases recovered), people are only slowly coming back to the city (we live in a downtown neighborhood). It is taking people some time to remember what they used to do and to start doing it again. No masks here as the Director General of Health has not recommended them for NZ, but people are still walking a meter apart. I've seen people in restaurants and nightlife did start up again just a bit last weekend. I have also definitely noticed a huge reduction in the number of people using our local park during the day as they are now at work and their kids at school. Also, public transit is running at only 40% so there are still people working from home, which also reduces the number in the city obviously. Trains were completely down yesterday due to the earthquake (Did you guys see the Jacinda on live TV? -- seems to be all over the world news haha. Our building is concrete, so we did not even feel it, but she was in a building with base isolators which allow for LOTS of movement).

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I feel like we've lost a lot of the upsides of city living and we're dealing with a lot of the negatives right now.  The only good things going right now is that shopping opportunities are immediate and plentiful for food (which is an upside with so many shortages) and that healthcare is close by (which is a huge chunk of our life). I miss "my places" a lot.  

We're trying to figure out feasible work-arounds. If ds's college starts in-person classes this fall we still don't want him using public transport. The DMV is still closed, though, so no option for getting him fully licensed at this point. I may become his driver, which I am not happy about.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

Margaret, we rented a lovely cabin in a rural area for Thanksgiving. When we went for a "country walk" the road was flanked by either woods or Amish farms. The scenery was nice, but that walk wrecked my nerves! When walking by the woods, there were always gunshots - it was hunting season. When walking by the farms, dogs would come rushing forward toward the road. Since the farms were Amish I presumed that there were no electric fences, so if I could not see a fence I felt very scared of these dogs. And then there were the horse droppings in the road to watch out for. I just wasn't fun or relaxing for me.

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23 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

I am scared of woods, tall trees where I cannot see sunlight.. You can blame it on horror movies. 😊. I need a bathroom to be available, no shack, porta potty, hole in the ground. Running water very necessary so no tent camping for me. BTDT with the "camping" living conditions when you come like me from a third world country.  

I have however seen tigers in the wild, a python eat a deer in real life all from the comfort and safety of secure vehicles. I've gone whale watching but only on short tours. So my nature is wild life in a park, not where coyotes or mountain lions could possibly roam. I would love to see the northern lights, again from a location with comforts. I guess I love my nature from a vantage point of civilization. 😀

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On 5/25/2020 at 12:34 PM, Margaret in CO said:

This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

Lol, this is me, too! I have lived in cities but found it to be extremely claustrophobic. I told dh when we got married that I needed to live where I could walk out my door and not see another person or house.

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On 5/25/2020 at 1:34 PM, Margaret in CO said:

This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

Absolutely. I grew up where there was nothing to DO but outdoor chores and high school football. It’s not a life everyone loves and most young people left as soon as possible. Even I we wanted to raise our families “back home” there are no white collar jobs, so most college graduates settled elsewhere. I feel like I live in a city now, but DH is from Brooklyn and assures me it’s the suburbs. 🤣
 

The country is pretty to visit, but at my mom’s house you loose over an hour of your life just getting a gallon of milk. One doctor’s appointment wipes out half the day. I can’t go back! I’d feel like Sisyphus if I had more land to manage. I like my gardening to be on a recreational scale. 

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8 hours ago, Penguin said:

Margaret, we rented a lovely cabin in a rural area for Thanksgiving. When we went for a "country walk" the road was flanked by either woods or Amish farms. The scenery was nice, but that walk wrecked my nerves! When walking by the woods, there were always gunshots - it was hunting season. When walking by the farms, dogs would come rushing forward toward the road. Since the farms were Amish I presumed that there were no electric fences, so if I could not see a fence I felt very scared of these dogs. And then there were the horse droppings in the road to watch out for. I just wasn't fun or relaxing for me.

You need to walk in my town. We have paved bike paths throughout the woods, leash laws, and zero horse droppings. 😂

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9 hours ago, Penguin said:

Margaret, we rented a lovely cabin in a rural area for Thanksgiving. When we went for a "country walk" the road was flanked by either woods or Amish farms. The scenery was nice, but that walk wrecked my nerves! When walking by the woods, there were always gunshots - it was hunting season. When walking by the farms, dogs would come rushing forward toward the road. Since the farms were Amish I presumed that there were no electric fences, so if I could not see a fence I felt very scared of these dogs. And then there were the horse droppings in the road to watch out for. I just wasn't fun or relaxing for me.

Yes, you have to be very careful about walking outside during hunting season. Here, it is a common occurrence for cars, houses, and people to get shot accidentally by careless hunters.

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I really have not known how to come back to this thread, as it seems too lightweight and even frivolous now. 

I would like to say that I hope that your city gets whatever changes it needs to become a good place for everyone who lives there. 

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4 minutes ago, Penguin said:

I really have not known how to come back to this thread, as it seems too lightweight and even frivolous now. 

I would like to say that I hope that your city gets whatever changes it needs to become a good place for everyone who lives there. 

I hope your city is experiencing peace/peaceful demonstrations and not violence. I have to admit I have lost track of where things have remained peaceful and where they have night. 

I just heard moments ago about violence in the city where dd is with her bf right now. She is safe, thankfully. 

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On 5/25/2020 at 11:34 AM, Margaret in CO said:

This thread is like looking at a different world for me! People LIKE living in the city???? 😉 I'm annoyed if two cars go by on the road in front of my house when I walk a mile. Too much traffic!

Of course, I had to steel myself to go out with the dogs last night, to scare off the bear!

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