Your Monday Briefing – The New York Occasions
How did this project start?
When the pandemic broke out, I saw it as a challenge to think about what I could do, not just make a wild prediction of what would happen to the city. So right before the lockdown, I wrote to a number of people I knew, architects, historians, and others. I asked, “What about a walk around town?”
They started simulating the walks after the city closed in March. How did that work
By the time we published the second walk down Museum Mile it had become impractical to safely walk around town with someone and the wrong signal was also being sent. So I started to take the walks virtually: over the phone or through zoom.
The truth is, virtual walks were easier in many ways because we could pack more into a conversation without having to deal with walking long distances or talking about the traffic. Even so, I was happy to start walking again as I did in Chinatown because I got to hang out with different people and because it’s a joy to actually walk around town.
You are talking about the pandemic in the Chinatown on foot.
I had Chinatown in mind from the start because this neighborhood was hit hard by a wave of xenophobia even before the lockdown. I wanted to remind people not only of how wonderful the neighborhood is, but how central it is to New York’s historical identity and diversity.
You were born and raised in New York. How has this project changed your view of the city?
I wanted even people who had been to these places to see them differently. To me, much of this environmental, pre-colonial, and nineteenth-century history was news, heady and humiliating, because it reminded me of how much I don’t know, but also how endless New York is.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a great week.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
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