How We Coped: Finding Solace in Nature
Six New Yorkers reflect on life during the pandemic, and how the outdoors helped see them through.
By Lisa W. Foderaro | Photographs by Tara Rice
Published May 18, 2021
Before it washed over the country in the spring of 2020, the coronavirus wave broke on New York City first. In March, experts advised anyone who could to shelter in place, leaving millions of people stuck in small apartments, stewing in fear, illness, and grief. Some left town. Others ventured out each day into an eerily silent city, risking exposure to the virus to carry out their essential work.
New Yorkers turned to their families, to their communities, and to nature to endure this harrowing time. They applauded from their balconies each night, covered their front sidewalks in blooming chalk artwork, and played music on their rooftops. And they sought out the little pockets of green close to home, reacquainting themselves with the neighborhood spots that had always been important—but which had now become lifelines.
The pandemic’s economic impact—from job losses to business closures—has only widened longstanding New York City’s inequities, including access to outdoor spaces. Innovative green spaces drive economic recovery—a recovery we need to start now. By investing in parks, we can leverage federal funding and create much-needed construction and maintenance jobs.
That’s why we created the New York City Park Equity Plan, and we’re calling on elected leaders and candidates to commit to expanding the park system so all New Yorkers have access to vibrant outdoor spaces.
Donate to become a member, and you’ll receive a subscription to Land&People magazine, our biannual publication featuring exclusive, inspiring stories about our work connecting everyone to the outdoors.