This article marked the unofficial 1 year anniversary of when Covid became part of our daily vocabulary and changed the game on how we lived our lives. As we move forward into a new normal, how can we hold on to the valuable back-to-basics lessons Covid forced us to re-learn and move forward with recalibrated priorities.
This morning, as I was doing the usual routine of getting the day started with a mug of coffee and a scroll through the regular news feeds when I was hit from all sides with a term that seemed to have mushroomed up virtually overnight. March 11th, 2020 had been deemed “The Day that Changed Everything” (let’s call it TDTCE for short). No doubt about it, the name seems to have found some fast traction and was plastered on headlines of publications all over the news universe today. (Google it, and you’ll see what I mean).
Even the photo app on my phone got into the action by chiming in with a ‘remember this day’ reminder of a picture I took on ‘TDTCE’ in Manhattan. It was on 8th Ave and 42nd St, and according to the time stamp, it was 10:22 am.
Seeing that photo took me right back to that morning and the memories of thinking how surreal 42nd St. looked with virtually no people or vehicles on it. The near-silence was as close to eerie as you could get on a beautiful sunny morning, and if it were night, I’m guessing it the comparison to a Twilight Zone episode, or a Hollywood set rendered perfectly to replicate a post-apocalypse 42nd St would have been complete. None of the usual ambient noise of horns, shouts, sirens. None of the background chatter of countless tourists walking with their head angled upwards for maximum sightseeing absorption while New York’s foot commuting workforce jostled past them power walking to wherever they were heading on any given Wednesday morning. If there were actually crickets in Times Square, their presence could have been known on that day.
I’ve worked in Manhattan since 1999, and in the last 22 years I have seen many a crazy thing in the City, but that view of 42nd St when I came around the corner from 8th Ave was a jarring sight. Thinking about it now, that would be the first of many times ‘unprecedented’ seemed to be the most fitting word. While I didn’t refer to it as ‘TDTCE’ at the time, I did text the photo to friends and family to message that whatever was happening in NYC was some real deal stuff, and a game-changer was on the way.