What New York City’s been like this week

I broke my heart today

Him: I broke my heart today.
Me: Saywhatnow?
Him: (sadly) Look. See. I broke it…

Went to Berlin two – maybe three – times? It’s both the capital and largest city of Germany; it’s also the largest city in the entire EU proper.

But I remember that each time I went, I thought it was like Queens, New York on a quiet day – and I’m talking the suburban part, not the busy centers like Flushing.

Basically, it felt empty to me. Having spent most of my life in Manhattan, no other city really feels like a “city” to me. Every other place feels like a small town.

Well, New York’s felt like Berlin all week. With COVID-19 freaking everyone out, the city’s really emptied out.

Went downtown by my lonesome the other day. Chinatown – which is usually bustling – was pretty quiet and I even managed to snap a pic where most of the street was empty. Can’t remember the last time I was able to do that.

Was swamped with work all week so I didn’t get to the gym until today. Heading there, Times Square felt like it does at 11PM on a Tuesday night, and not like it usually does at 11AM on a Thursday afternoon.

Was chatting with some of the fellas in the gym and they noticed things too.

Me: How’re things?
Curt: My clients are in places like Brooklyn and they’re not going to work so they’re all cancelling on me. No one’s coming into the city just for personal training.

Didn’t have much time to chat because I had to update my license information for a Zipcar-type service and went to their office. Of course, It was closed.

So I went home, showered, and went to pick up my kid when a friend texted me that she wouldn’t be bringing her kid in for the play date we had set up.

Her: Hey I don’t think I’m going to head into the city tomorrow. Plus I heard the school is closed?

Because I was running around and showering, I didn’t check my other messages.

Yup, the boy’s school was closed all next week. Dammit.

But I didn’t have too much time to think about it as I dashed off to pick the boy up to bring him to a gymnastics class. At least I had people watch him. Or, so I thought.

Sitter: I’m so sorry. I can’t do this weekend. My mom is super paranoid and actually moving me away.

At the gymnastics class, I struck up a conversation with a young redhead who said that she might be free to help out.

Her: When were you hoping?
Me: Honestly, I’m pretty flex if some of the other sitters bail.

They bailed.

It’s all been pretty maddening and I felt myself deep in thought when the boy came over with a broken plastic heart that he got from someone over St. Valentines.

What he said  – and the sad way in which he said it – made me laugh to myself, although I tried my best not to show it.

Me: Broken hearts are pretty hard to fix, kid. But we’ll see what we can do, okay?
Him: OK, papa. I hope we can fix it.
Me: (nodding) We’ll do our best.

Location: surrounded by paper, computer parts, and a cracked plastic heart
Mood: resigned
Music: But big hearts move slow, get left behind
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