Mr. Markham, who is from Jupiter, Fla., arrived in Manhattan last August after serving in the Navy as a nuclear submarine officer aboard the U.S.S. Pasadena in San Diego. He’d been accepted into Columbia University’s engineering school, and soon after getting here, he immersed himself in the city’s colorful tumult.
By spring, Mr. Markham was smitten with New York, seeing a kind of mathematical poetry in it. “Physics is beautiful because it is unpredictable and random,” he said. “I see that same beautiful chaos in New York.”
Then, the pandemic gripped the city, and the New York he was getting intimate with became bleak and barren overnight.
Couches got tossed on his street as people moved out. On Tinder, conversations ended swiftly: “I’d try to meet up and they’d say, ‘Oh, I’m with my parents in Connecticut. I’ll be here until it settles down.’ I’d reply: ‘Uh, OK. Talk soon then, I guess.’” Soon, Mr. Markham felt like he had been left alone on a ghostly Upper West Side.
To his surprise, he began appreciating the city anew. At night, he biked through the empty canyons of Midtown. He set up a projector on his roof and watched “Yellow Submarine” on the wall of the building next door. One day, he walked into a nice neighborhood he’d never visited before, and discovered it had its own private garden.
“It’s called Gramercy Park,” he said. “They have this special little garden just to themselves. You need a key to get in, right? No, you don’t. You just need a pair of legs and to be able to jump a fence. And guess what? It’s just like any other park.”
Table Of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated July 27, 2020
Should I refinance my mortgage?
- It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.
What is school going to look like in September?
- It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.
- The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?
- So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.
“Now everything is strange, but I like strange,” he added. “I’m learning more about the city now than I was before.”