Op-Ed: I Took A Trip to New York City After the Pandemic

by Chloe' Flowers

In a personal essay, our Wellness Contributor, Chloe’ Flowers details her experience visiting New York City after the pandemic. Read on to learn more about her time in the Big Apple and what to plan for when visiting New York after Covid-19 this summer.

 

 

Truth Be Told: I craved inspiration.

New York was on my travel list before we were thrusted into the pandemic.

 

I knew I needed to experience such a colorful and rich place to reignite my creative mojo. As soon as I felt comfortable with the thought of traveling out of state by plane – my ticket was booked. Though I have never been out of the country, I am someone who is very much inspired by cities in the US. There are many quaint little towns, and national state parks to explore. 

The major cities are rich in culture and magical ways of life have been created by the locals. Road tripping also satisfies my travel bug. Taking short road trips to nearby places brought me back to life last year. Finally came the opportunity for me to experience a bigger city on another coast, so I was off to the “Big Apple”. 

New York City after the pandemic was surreal.

When people ask me how New York was, I say “I used all of my senses.”

 

I saw all kinds of fashion inspiration and saw so many different types of people coexisting. I heard constant sirens, honking, laughter and fireworks. The point of me going was to completely change my routine and gain insight in the process. I wanted to see new things and meet new people who could inspire me. 

Most of my time was spent in Brooklyn – staying at a friend’s house. A lot of my time was spent walking or riding the train (dubbed metro). On the metro, I would read or just watch people. I loved the idea of everyone having different plans or places to be, but still being together somehow. 

There was plenty  of good food, and shopping between restaurants, neighborhood bodegas and boutiques. I drank more iced coffees than necessary, and had a lot of memorable conversations. These days, people are certainly hyper aware of how quickly small things like speaking to others can be taken away. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who wanted to hear my story and know more about me. 

The meaningful conversations were my favorite part. It’s rare to have a conversation with people who are really listening, but also have healthy communication skills.  Many native New Yorkers seem to have mastered the art of conversation. 

 

I found myself reflecting on the importance of ‘home’.

 

I feel that the pandemic made people more appreciative of their homes. It’s hard to take for granted our connections to others, and being able to grow as a community.  We now realize the importance of investing in our spaces and neighborhoods. 

During the pandemic, many of us were redecorating and splurging more on our digs. So much introspective time can really take a toll, regardless of your home decor. Now we no longer take for granted lunch with a friend, or being able to hug someone. 

The energy in Brooklyn was high on appreciation and the privilege of existence. When we went out to lunch, everyone was eating and smiling, and clinking glasses with their good friends. If I could use one word to describe the overall energy I would say it was “joyful”. 

 

New York City after the pandemic hit my reset button.

My entire perspective on life changes after I’ve taken a stimulating trip.

 

I am reset in a way where I can’t forget my experiences because they were that monumental to me. Being in different places shows me areas of myself that I didn’t know I had – until I am forced to use them. When I returned, I was much more grateful for mundane things that are a little more difficult to access in New York. I feel like people live a very intentional life, because the small things matter. 

It matters which route you take to get to a friend’s house, it matters that you get the right things on your sandwich or that you wear the right things for the weather. In Texas, if you forget your jacket, you can just turn around and go back home to get it. The days in New York seem really full with lots of errands and responsibility to chase your dream. I really took time to study how occupied everyone seemed. 

 

There isn’t enough said about the trauma, paranoia, and isolation the pandemic birthed.

A few of my friendships and relationships have shifted in a political way. It is very frustrating to lose friends because of differing views surrounding the pandemic, vaccinations, and anything political period. At this time, I think it is essential for us to take charge of our lives again – carefully. There have already been enough missed milestones, and memories. We have already been separated and afraid. Now is the time for love, and joy to come through. Everyone is in a different mental space regarding the pandemic. 

For a city like New York, who just opened back up, many are still weary. In my home state of Texas, we opened late last year. I have had much more time to get acclimated to being “open” and what that may look like. I too have been terrified, and I understand how important it is to give people time. Depending on where we live, we are all following a specific set of regulations and norms surrounding the pandemic. 

 

 

 

Suggestions for Post-Pandemic Travelers

Based on my recent visit to New York City…

For one, make sure you bring comfortable shoes. I would have been completely lost without my new balance 574’s. In addition, pack comfortable outfits that you feel good in. You will most likely wear the same look all day – unless you have time and energy to go back home. I would also suggest creating a list of all the things you want to do and see, because you can’t leave the house without a plan.

I’d also say bring a light jacket – even in the summer. It gets chilly on the train, in different stores/restaurants. My last piece of advice would just be to stay open. Things in New York are ever changing and it’s easy to get distracted from your plan. You may be headed to one place, and then stop 10 times along the way to chat with a friend or to stop into a store. Be open to whatever the day brings! 

 

In Short:
  1. Bring comfortable shoes.
  2. Pack comfortable clothes.
  3. Create a list of goals before leaving the house (or hotel).
  4. Always be prepared with layers (even in the summertime).
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  6. Be open to spontaneity!
  7. Bring mini hand sanitizer for on-the-go !
  8. A few masks (required on train and in some establishments)

 

I’m excited for the next time I visit New York. I see the city as such a beautiful place that has overcome dark times. A piece of me left truly feeling renewed. 

 

All images courtesy of Chloe’ Flowers (@discochlo).

Related Posts from Chloe’ Flowers:

Avoiding The Social Camouflage of Code Switching

A Love Letter for When the Societal Pressures Flood In…

The Healing of Nature and How Nature Can Heal In the Midst of Chaos

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