I was reading an article on the internet regarding New York. The writer who lives there vividly described the different levels of traumatic change that the city has experienced these past six months. Basically, the city of New York as we have known it is no more. Businesses have been forced to close due to city government mandates. The tall skyscrapers are basically empty; one example downtown has diminished its office occupancy from 6,000 people to about 500 using the building.
People are leaving the city in droves; at least those who have the money to relocate or who have other options, such as family living in other parts of the country, or a second home somewhere. Rental property downtown is no longer a premium.
The museums are closed. The Broadway shows are shut down. The 50% of the restaurants which have been able to stay afloat are limited to sidewalk traffic only, and are barely making it. The downtown streets look quite deserted.
Tourism is nil (but improving a bit), the taxis have less business, the hotels are hurting, waitresses aren’t working (many of whom were Broadway performers who supplement their meager pay by waiting tables) and so on.
But, there’s some good news here as well. The offices and companies that had previously worked out of the office buildings have now learned that sending their workers home was not a bad idea. The workers are now working from home, doing the same work, and doing quite well, thank you!
One executive immediately moved to Phoenix; he had never been to Arizona, but decided he was not sticking around New York. He is now working with the same company in New York and getting his work done at home.
School is starting again on the last week of September, and that is great news.
Rockefeller Center has been transformed into a free, public, sculpture park with artwork inspired by nature. Food vendors are popular and filling a need for relaxation and refreshment outdoors. And so on.
However, the consensus is that New York as we have known it, is over. Not dead. Not destroyed. Just not to return to the way it was.
Why am I telling this story? Two reasons.
First, we are so very fortunate in this area. Nothing has changed that severely. We have clean air, open space, day to day relationships with others, freedom not known in the city, and an economy that is functioning and recovering. The grocery stores have plenty of goods, and restaurants are open.
People who live in this part of the country know each other, and friendships are supportive and dependable. We are not a transient society, here one day, and gone the next. We live in houses, duplexes, or apartments, and we are not crowded. We have never adapted to living like ants packed into an anthill. We are also catching on that we must watch out for each other.
So, be safe, be watchful, but thank God every day that we live out here in the middle of nowhere. We have kept our sanity, and we have become stronger and wiser, but I am not sure of our counterparts in New York.
They have a steeper hill to climb.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or juditabler@awomansview.