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The 10 things we miss the most about the Before Times in NYC

We're having serious NYC withdrawal.

By
Shaye Weaver
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Our lives have changed a lot over the last six months. Remember when seeing the skyline was a regular occurrence and meeting new people was actually possible? Wouldn’t you give anything to complain about being “too busy” again? We didn’t know how good we had it, and now we’re aching for the good old days. So we rounded up the things we miss the most about the pre-COVID city.

1. Crowded subway platforms and “Showtime.” (No, really!)
While being pushed into a crowded train and nearly kicked in the face by a “Showtime” dancer used to be something we rolled our eyes at, we now appreciate these public transit eccentricities. We wouldn’t mind them so much if we could return to the trains once more without fear and trepidation. In fact, once again hearing a boombox go off with generic dance music may feel like greeting an old friend.

2. The feeling of seeing a live Broadway show or a performance by our favorite artists.
We’re tired of getting on our computers to watch pre-recorded performances. We want to be there in person when an artist displays their talent and passion—it’s electric. You can feel the energy of the room at a packed venue and meet other fans on the bathroom line. A screen just doesn’t cut it.

3. Walking down the sidewalk without mask judgment.
The streets of NYC used to be where we could let our freak flags fly. Now, we’re constantly judging whether someone is wearing a mask and how someone is wearing their mask. And if you’re not judging someone, you’re definitely being judged.

4. Putting on a really bomb outfit and showing it off in the city streets.
We’re lucky if we put on jeans anymore, but in the Before Times, the city was our catwalk. Half the fun of going out in NYC was showing off our best getups and turning heads. We long for that now as we sit in our T-shirts and yoga pants or when we’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.

5. Having someone other than our roommates to hang out with.
We didn’t necessarily want to become best friends with our housemates, but we’ve had to for the past few months. They’re nice and all, but we miss being at our other friends’ side and running around the city together and getting into trouble. 

6. Getting wrecked by a really good gym class or workout.
It’s been months since we have had that drenched-in-sweat, I’m-gonna-die workout. With gyms closed for months, the equipment has gone unused and our favorite classes have disappeared—we have the atrophied muscles to prove it, and some of us have gained the Quarantine 15. We’re ready to be whipped into shape once again!

7. Not dining out next to bike lanes.
Dining out used to be a relaxing experience, but now we’re worried about whether a cyclist is going to crash into our table or a coughing passerby is going to get their germs on our food. It’s a far cry from the candlelit feasts we once enjoyed inside our favorite eateries. 

8. Thinking "Zoom" was a brand of vacuum cleaner.
Once upon a time, the word “Zoom” was probably some sort of vacuum cleaner or an old PBS show. Now, logging into the video chat service is our everyday reality and the go-to for when we need to catch up with family and friends. Wake up, Zoom, repeat. We’ll be extremely happy when Zoom is behind us and just “that thing we used to use when we were trapped inside.”

9. Not knowing the exact number of paces it takes to get from our bed to our couch every day.
Before our apartments became our workspaces, being at home was a luxury. There was a clear delineation between our work lives and our personal lives and our homes were safe spaces. Now, we’ve worked and been stressed out in every spot imaginable—the couch, the kitchen table, the floor, the bed, you name it—and it’s the same every day. We can’t wait until our apartments are only for down time again.

10. When bouncers were at clubs not at grocery stores.
Grocery shopping is the new clubbing. We mask up, grab our reusable bags, and wait in line with dozens of others who we will inevitably avoid in the aisles. The grocery store clerks who usher us in are our bouncers. We groove to soft rock hits in the frozen section and smile with our eyes at the cutie feeling for ripe avocados. These are strange times.

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