The upsides to the ‘Hold My Beer’ of years

Inspiring events and generous acts in a reopening NYC


One of the best things about outdoor dining is the food you don’t have to cook! Photo: Parkside

Happy Friday! Pandemic times continue, but despite it all I’m still a little giddy about being back to some version of my old Brooklyn life, albeit with a raging case of maskne and lots more restrictions and solo time. This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the fear, disruption, and varying degrees of loss we’ve all experienced in 2020—the “hold my beer” of years—has brought with it an unexpected, countervailing sense of freedom that I’m really digging right now. Sure, you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the MAGA set and their “god’s wonderful breathing system” laments (hot tip: this all goes a lot better if you don’t listen to them), but from where I sit it’s increasingly apparent that most of the bullshit that I stressed about as recently as early March is just not worth it, and I can pretty much spend my time doing what I want and it doesn’t really matter to anyone else. On Friday, I rode my bike to a Juneteenth event and then spent the rest of the evening riding around meeting up with different friends in Prospect Park for impromptu socially distant drinks and to take in the (amateur??) fireworks displays there. On Saturday, I sat under a tent at the beach ALL DAY and never looked at my phone; and on Sunday, I hauled myself up to the park and sat under a tree for hours. All were THE BEST and are highly recommended. I’m scared to death of a second wave here, and as I watch with horror as infections spike in other states I feel like I gotta take advantage of this time here (safely, of course) and the good vibes brought about by restaurant seating in the street, human rights activism and awareness being at an all-time high, and a general feeling of unity and appreciation for my fellow New Yorkers. Especially the guy I spotted this morning wearing a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony mask, the best part of which was the near-certain knowledge that said item was both manufactured and purchased in 2020. 

Although Pride celebrations have been relatively subdued this year due to [gestures hand to indicate “all of this”], there’s a bunch of ways to join in the revelry happening this weekend, including a virtual houseparty featuring drag, dance, and music put on by BAM tomorrow night; and NYC Pride’s official event to replace the Parade, which happens on Sunday. I’ve also got my eye on this online conversation about Jewish Deli Culture being produced by MOFAD and Gastro Obscura on Sunday evening, which feels like fertile ground for some really entertaining stories. After years of being weirdly resistant to meditation (um, is adding a NEW thing to the already bananas list of things that I am supposed to do and can’t seem to get around to really a viable stress-reducer?), I’m liking the idea of The Big Quiet, a three-session online meditation course starting Sunday. And, like everyone, I’m counting the days until Hamilton is available to stream starting on July 3. 

Otherwise, hoping for another mellow weekend spent mostly outdoors, taking advantage of newly-reopened restaurants and bars for food that I don’t have to make (whee!) and to show off my wildly impressive, pandemic-induced tolerance for alcohol. Hoping you all can enjoy the same, and carry it through the Fourth of July weekend as well! Masks up, y’all (evidently there is quite a variety available to suit all of your late ’90s music taste), and please continue to take care of yourselves.

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