Magazine August 10, 2020, Issue

Returning to an Unfamiliar New York City

A reopened restaurant in the Little Italy section of New York City, June 22, 2020 (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The longest we had ever been away from the city I have lived in since 1977, she since 1969, had been a three-week vacation. Now we had been gone for almost four months — more like a short prison sentence.

I had been in touch with friends who stayed the duration. Their accounts, like those of all eyewitnesses, conflicted. One reported sylvan stillness: clear skies, fresh air, a father and son playing catch in the street. Another endured loud nightly protesters, tipping over garbage cans and burning the contents. Experience of the virus varied too: One couple discovered they had antibodies,

This article appears as “Unfamiliar City” in the August 10, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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