As spring peeked out,
the city announced that it would be enforcing social distancing rules and handing out fines for groups that were still congregating after March 23. Non-essential businesses started to shut down
and all non-essential employees were required to work from home (which might explain why my neighbors ordered a copier from the internet)
By the end of March, much of New York had begun to withdraw into its shell, like a tortoise. (But there were still hoards that decided to go gape at the USNS Comfort as it drew into NY harbor on the 30th.)
In the Little India micro-neighborhood, even grocery stores like Patels, which had been allowing only a few customers in at a time, shut down. Apna Bazaar, one of the few South Asian groceries that stayed open, began to see lines form outside.
Indian shoppers appeared to revert back to the balaclavas that are a common sight in Indian “winters”.
My neighborhood Chinese take-out restaurant was no longer answering the phone, leading me to assume that they had shut down as well. The knell for the mom-and-pop store, including restaurants, was starting to sound, drowned out only by the sirens of ambulances and firetrucks as they tore down to and away from Elmhurst hospital.
But the businesses that stayed open tried to stay positive, reflecting the city’s indomitable spirit.