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The Year of Living Dangerously

I remember standing outside Zabar’s at 7:30 one Saturday morning in one of the little yellow-taped sidewalk squares marked six feet apart. Going to a grocery store was either brave or reckless then. So I’d get to stores a half hour before they opened, to be one of the first inside. It started to drizzle. I stood in the rain thinking “who could have imagined this?”

None of us could have imagined the year we’ve come through. We lost friends and loved ones. We couldn’t visit family. Beloved neighborhood shops and restaurants shuttered. Moving vans packed up our neighbors’ lives as they fled the City. New York felt bereft without houses of worship, theaters, museums, and movies. We learned to be afraid. To give people wide berth on sidewalks. Avoid neighbors in the lobby. Dread the subways. People lost livelihoods. Those of us fortunate enough to work from home felt life shrink to a Zoom box. We flocked to parks in any weather. We learned to adapt.

The social-distanced line outside of Zabar’s on the Upper West Side.

We discovered heroes among us. We cheered and clapped for medical workers. We admired people who kept public transit operating, groceries stocked, and brought us mail and deliveries. New Yorkers showed their mettle.

Another spring is upon us. Renewal seems possible now. But there is work to do.

The Year of Living Dangerously was a love story set in a time of political upheaval in Indonesia. The book was adapted into a popular 1982 movie. The upheaval of this past year tested our love for this remarkable City.

Some pundits feel the New York we knew is gone forever. Others insist you can’t bet against New York. The City has always come through trying times. We feel that way. But we all need to work to make that happen. We need to elect a new Mayor who can help us rebuild. We need to ensure that all neighborhoods and communities benefit from the recovery.

We’re proud to be the “New York” Landmarks Conservancy. We’re working every day to honor that title and fight for the City we love.

With best wishes from all of us for your health and safety,

Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy

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