Space and Spaces: Mid-Pandemic in NYChttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/NewYork_post_header.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Traveling during a pandemic can be a bit nerve-wracking, yes. Still, it was good to be back in New York and see people beginning to venture out in a city initially hit hard and fast by COVID. It appeared that folks are starting to feel safer going out as long as the necessary precautions are in place. The volume of people was still noticeably less than the typical New York visit. The hustle had a little less bustle, people were keeping appropriate distance and wearings masks, but the streets were far from dead.
We had the chance to visit the New York Historical Society outdoor exhibition Hope Wanted, which through poetry and photography, presented different ways that the pandemic has affected the city of New York. An open-air environment and guided path showcased the exhibition by poet Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman. Visitors stopped at photographs of empty streets or vacant Grand Central Station. Photos of people talking from their windows to someone on the sidewalk were shown printed and hanging on the walls around the space. It was eerie and somber to see a city usually teeming with people, looking like a ghost town.
Many people could be seen opting for the parks and other outdoor spaces such as Hudson Yards. Again, the number of people was limited, but individuals and small groups were nevertheless milling about. Central Park was a bright spot where the amount of space really allowed people to spread out and enjoy some time outdoors. People were playing and lounging in a seemingly relaxed environment, a little oasis in the new normal.
We stopped into a couple different retail stores. It was interesting to see the subtle ways that the stores were addressing the flow of traffic throughout the space. In most stores, small decals on the floor indicated directionality and path of travel. In busier stores, someone monitored the number of people in the store and asked folks to wait outside if they needed to reach a lower capacity.
This pandemic has brought about such a quick and violent shift in the way brands must address their consumer in the retail space. It will be interesting to see how retail continues to change over the coming few years and adapts to deliver a safe and inviting environment for shoppers.