Photo via E.J. — nah, he’s in the photo — photo via E.J’s camera’s self-timer
By now, you’ve seen enough memes and articles marking this week as the one-year anniversary of living in whatever you want to call …this.
Exactly a year ago, nobody knew what we were headed towards, or how the remaining nine months of 2020 would play out. The NBA season got called off, flights from Europe were done, the stock market plummeted, and suddenly, there was no ignoring that shit was getting weird.
That same week, most non-essential retail businesses and offices told their employees to stop coming in. However, we were still at the stage when restaurants were open at full capacity, and from where we stand today, it might be weird to remember that the CDC did not advise everyone wear a face covering until early April.
Unaware that the gravity of the situation would compound exponentially later that March (I distinctly remember people thinking “quarantine” would last “two or three weeks”), friends who had not shared a Saturday off in years decided to go skating.
Midtown was a skeleton of its normal busy self, but there were still tourists in Times Square and coffee carts on the sidewalks. Big Screen was the first impulse, and the already-outside security made us realize we weren’t the only ones with that brilliant idea. Times Square was still a bust, albeit heading towards the more tolerable public space it would metamorphosize into during the COVID age.
But after that kick-out, it was smooth sailing.
All the spots of our childhoods were ghost towns: Paine, CBS, FedEx. The size of the crew snowballed throughout the day, and some of those people had not skated in months (let alone skated midtown.) It was a testament to the balm-like effect skateboarding is capable of having during the shittiest times. Skateboarding is, in many ways, the polar opposite of doom-scrolling.
Nothing felt “normal” — the fact we were getting this much time at any of these places felt like a glitch in the matrix — but we took it. We were but a few days away from the roof really caving in on the situation, and everyone coming to terms with the fact that they’d be stuck inside for much of the upcoming spring.
Going back and scanning the footage from that one day, it feels like this day was a preemptive consolation prize for the ensuing year. Grateful to have got it — usually you can’t get that many of your adult friends together on a Saturday afternoon, unless it’s for a wedding ♥