Will masks for the general public work as well against monkeypox as they did against SARS-CoV-2?

“New Yorkers told to mask up again after local patient tests POSITIVE for same genus virus as monkeypox” (Daily Mail):

An NYC patient has tested positive for the same genus virus as monkeypox sparking calls from the health department for residents to wear masks indoors – just as New Yorkers were finally returning to mask-free normalcy after COVID-19.

The health department is encouraging New Yorkers to wear face masks to protect against the new virus outbreak, as well as COVID-19 and the flu. Monkeypox primarily spreads through physical contact but can also be transmitted through respiratory droplets in the air.

Why isn’t the best advice “Leave New York City, which is one of the world’s most crowded places”? The Science is strong with the NYC health department, but ordinarily a scientific conclusion is supported by evidence. What is the evidence that a monkeypox outbreak can be stopped by ordinary residents of a city wearing masks?

In a world obsessed with avoiding viral infection, I can’t figure out why cities like New York make sense (or why boosting population density in already-crowded cities via low-skill immigration makes sense). I have a lot more confidence that someone living in the suburbs can avoid monkeypox compared to someone living in a Manhattan studio apartment and going out to the stuff that used to make Manhattan attractive.

Combining these topics, a photo from June 2021:

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Inflation in New York City is only 2 percent

“Looming Rent Increase of Up to 9 Percent Tests Adams’s Housing Priorities” (New York Times, May 4, 2022):

The powerful Rent Guidelines Board, which the mayor controls, will take a preliminary vote on Thursday on proposed rent increases of 2.7 to 4.5 percent on one-year leases and 4.3 to 9 percent on two-year leases. A final vote is expected in June.

The annual decision by the Rent Guidelines Board, which affects more than two million residents who live in buildings built before 1974 that have six or more units, always ignites passionate debate and an intense lobbying effort from tenants and landlords.

Note that the headline is kind of a lie, implying that rents might be going up by 9 percent in one year (the standard period to look at).

The good news is that, if you are one of the two million people who live in an apartment whose rent is set by the central planners, your personal inflation rate, at least for housing, could have been as low as 2.7 percent. How does this compare to the official government CPI? The word “inflation” does not appear in the NYT article (see “Team Transitory”).

Just a day later, the horror of 2.7 percent inflation was averted. “Panel Backs Rent Increases for More Than 2 Million New Yorkers” (NYT, May 5, 2022):

The New York City panel charged with regulating rents across nearly one million rent-stabilized homes voted on Thursday to support the largest increases in almost a decade.

The move, which must be formally approved next month, would raise rents on one-year leases by 2 to 4 percent, and on two-year leases by 4 to 6 percent. The increases are another reminder of the affordability crisis the city faces as it emerges from the pandemic.


  • “‘They’ll have to carry me out in a box’: inside the apartments of the luckiest renters” (Guardian, February 2022): Growing up on the Upper West Side, Hattie Kolp, like any kid, didn’t think much about the apartment she and her family moved into in 2002, but the roughly 1,500-square-foot two-bedroom has become the center of the 30-year-old’s life as an influencer. She shares photos of the apartment’s details that hint at the building’s 1890 construction – like an original butler’s pantry and ornate fireplaces – with her 90,000 TikTok followers and 52,000 followers on Instagram. … “My parents knew this was not their forever home, so they didn’t really care to do any projects,” says Kolp, who assumed the lease from her parents in 2018. … For New Yorkers who are acutely aware of how much a place like this should cost, Kolp’s rent – $1,300 per month – is jaw-dropping. Plus, it’s rent-stabilized – meaning it can only increase in rent modestly once a year. There are only 1m such units in New York City.
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Freedom of speech opposite the banner promising freedom of speech

A New York Post story:

[Daniela Jampel, who served as an assistant corporation counsel for the City] had publicly challenged the mayor at an unrelated event on LGBTQ issues — as [Mayor Eric] Adams stood in front of a podium banner that read, “Come to the city where you can say whatever you want.’’

“Three weeks ago, you told parents to trust you that you would unmask our toddlers,” Jampel told the mayor.

“You stood right here, and you said that the masks would come off April 4. That has not happened.”

In other words, she said whatever she wanted opposite a banner that said she could say whatever she wanted. Example signs from NBC:

What happened next?

Sources close to the matter said Jampel – a leading local critic of the toddler mask mandate and pandemic school closures – was informed by e-mail shortly after the presser that she was fired.

(Note that Jampel need only move to Florida to live in a society that conforms to her preferences. It is against state law for a public school system to shut down schools, order children to wear masks, etc. She could leave New York City to the folks who like it the way that it is is and come to a place where most people would agree with her regarding the best ways to protect 4-year-olds from a disease that kills 84-year-olds. (see Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children for how Americans could be a lot happier if people were more mobile))


Note that if we combine the last two points we find that New York City is spending its taxpayers’ money to recruit additional lower-than-average income residents who will thus be eligible for a full range of means-tested welfare programs after arrival in NYC. And, if a transition is just beginning, for every valuable 2SLBGTQQIA+ community member who is persuaded to move, NY taxpayers will be forking out $100,000 to gender reassignment surgeons and therapists, via Medicaid, that would otherwise have been shouldered by working taxpayers in Florida. Nonetheless, NYC may find itself outbid by Palm Springs, California, which is offering guaranteed cash to members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. See Guaranteed Income Pilot – DAP Health and California city to give universal income to transgender, nonbinary residents regardless of earnings | Fox News:

Transgender residents in Palm Springs, California are eligible to receive a UBI of up to $900 per month solely for identifying as transgender or nonbinary — no strings attached.

The new pilot program will have $200,000 set aside for allocation after a unanimous vote by the Palm Springs City Council last week.

Twenty transgender and nonbinary Palm Springs residents will receive the free money funded by the taxpayers for 18 months, with advocacy-based health center DAP Health and LGBT advocacy group Queer Works managing the program.

Not everyone in the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community is aligned on this one:

Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton, who is transgender, pointed to the transcript from the city council’s March 24 meeting where she “expressed strong reservations in general to guaranteed income programs.”

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who served as the first openly gay member of the city council, called the program “outrageous and discriminatory.”

“We’re completely opposed to guaranteed or universal basic income programs, because they ultimately cause inflation and raise the cost of living on everyone — they don’t work,” DeMaio said in a statement.

“But at least some of them have minimum income requirements to qualify, whereas this one is no-strings-attached ‘woke’ virtue signaling to the LGBT community in a way that is not only offensive but discriminatory,” he continued.

I personally disagree with Mx. DeMaio. If there is an income threshold necessary to qualify for free taxpayer cash then you’re pretty much guaranteeing that the recipient will limit his/her/zir/their working efforts so as to stay under this threshold. (See Fast-food economics in Massachusetts: Higher minimum wage leads to a shorter work week, not fewer people on welfare for how low-wage workers are smart enough to avoid working themselves out of means-tested entitlements.) If people are going to be paid for identifying as transgender or non-binary the money shouldn’t be conditional on them also refraining from serious work efforts.

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New York Science: masks for 2-year-olds, but not in the strip clubs

Following Science, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City orders 2-year-olds to continue wearing masks while unvaccinated adults are free to party in strip clubs, on Tinder dates, at raves, etc.

(The mayor had a bit of trouble with the courts, but an appeals court ruled in favor of continuing to burden 2-year-olds.)

Florida Realtor of 2022 for Eric Adams? At least for New Yorkers with children under 5, a move to the Sunshine State could be compelling!

And what about the flight to freedom? Can escaping families throw away their masks at JFK or will they have to wait until they’re on the curb at PBI? “Florida is challenging federal mask requirements for travelers” (government-funded WFSU, 3/30/2022):

In Florida’s latest salvo against the Biden administration over COVID-19 restrictions, Attorney General Ashley Moody on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging requirements that people wear masks in airports and on planes, trains and buses.

Moody, joined by attorneys general from 20 other states, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Tampa. In part, it contends that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has overstepped its legal authority in requiring masks for travelers.

“Faced with a government that displays outright disdain for the limits on its power — especially when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic — plaintiffs seek vacatur of that mask mandate and a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” the lawsuit said.


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Do the unvaccinated collect unemployment after being placed on “unpaid leave”?

“Thousands of Unvaccinated New York City School Employees Placed on Unpaid Leave” (Wall Street Journal, 10/4/2021) describes those who #Resist, but not in a good way:

Thousands of New York City school staff were barred from returning to work Monday for failing to comply with a vaccination mandate that took effect Friday afternoon.

Under the terms of the mandate, all school employees needed to show proof by Friday afternoon that they received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to avoid being placed on unpaid leave.

(It’s a “mandate,” not an “order”)

These employees aren’t fired, but are only on “unpaid leave.” Does that mean they’re unable to collect unemployment insurance? Is this a brilliant Catch-22 strategy by the city government? People can’t collect unemployment unless they’re fired. The infidels #Resisting the Church of Shutdown haven’t been fired. But on the other hand, there is no way for them to get a paycheck unless they accept Saint Fauci as their personal savior.

Have we created a society where a lifetime of government assistance (means-tested public housing, Medicaid, SNAP/EBT, and Obamaphone) is available to folks who say “I need to spend 24/7 drinking, smoking dope, and consuming opioids” but nothing is available to those who say “I’m a healthy 25-year-old, already had COVID-19, and don’t think the risk-reward of a COVID-19 vaccine makes sense for me”?

Separately, given that NYC, if it were its own country, would be right near the top of countries ranked by COVID-19 death rate, shouldn’t we expect that most of the unvaccinated have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and therefore have at least as good immunity as the vaccinated? (Nearly all of my friends in NYC eventually got either a positive COVID test result, some symptoms, or both.)


  • “Won’t Get The Covid Vaccine? If You’re Fired, You May Not Get Unemployment Benefits” (Forbes): … there’s one big, new exception that could block your eligibility to get unemployment benefits: You get fired because you’re not vaccinated for Covid-19. … In short, probably not. If an employer terminates you because you don’t follow its policies, it has “cause” to fire you. And if you’re fired “for cause,” you may be ineligible to claim unemployment benefits. … Some states have made it clear that people terminated for not adhering to vaccination policies are likely precluded from receiving benefits. Oregon is one example of a state that has mandated health care, education, and government workers to get vaccinated. The head of the state Employment Department has said eligibility will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but those terminated by public or private employers for refusing to get vaccinated probably won’t be eligible.
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Will Kathy Hochul be Florida health care worker Recruiter of the Year?

Folks in the South Florida real estate industry dubbed Andrew Cuomo the “Florida Realtor of the Year” in gratitude for all of the money that they made selling houses to people fleeing New York’s lockdowns, school closures, and mask orders. (This was before Mr. Cuomo became famous for his efforts in other areas.)

I wonder if Kathy Hochul, the current governor of New York, will be remembered for solving every Florida health care enterprise’s HR problems. The nursing shortage in FL could be over by the end of next week, according to the NYT:

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York is considering calling in the National Guard and recruiting medical professionals from other states to cover looming staff shortages at hospitals and other facilities as the likelihood grows that tens of thousands of health care workers will not meet the state’s deadlines for mandated vaccinations.

New York State is one of the first major testing grounds for stronger vaccination edicts rolling in across the country in the health care sector. California and Maine have also set deadlines for health care workers to be vaccinated. President Biden has said his administration will issue a national vaccination mandate expected to ultimately affect some 17 million health care workers at hospitals and other institutions that accept Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Hospital and nursing home employees in New York are required to receive a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 11:59 p.m. on Monday night, while workers working in home care, hospices and other adult care facilities must do so by Oct. 7, according to state regulations and a mandate issued on Aug. 16 by former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

For health care workers seeking freedom, Florida may not be a complete solution (since President Biden and, if necessary, the U.S. military could step in to deprive Floridians of the freedoms that Governor DeSantis has tried to arrange), but moving to Florida certainly will ensure as much freedom as is possible to obtain as an employed American (folks on welfare, of course, are completely free from requirements to wear masks, get vaccines, etc., since they are not going to work).

It doesn’t usually take a huge nudge to move someone from New York to Florida. A high percentage of the above-mentioned workers probably had planned to move to Florida after retirement. For those doctors and nurses who don’t want their pharmaceutical intake to be determined by two lawyers (Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul), could this be the final nudge that sends them down I-95?

Separately, how much do we love it when people with no technical or scientific training say that MDs and RNs are rejecting science and have fallen prey to “misinformation” about the vaccines whose long-term disease-prevention capabilities and side effects are apparently best-known to politicians and journalists? (from state-sponsored NPR: “In The Fight Against COVID, Health Workers Aren’t Immune To Vaccine Misinformation”)

Also, as a vaccinated person I do appreciate the “blame-the-unvaccinated-for-all-of-our-woes” strategy being pursued by our leaders. But I wonder how long we can keep it going. If someone is a front-line health care worker and feeling young/healthy enough to be out and about without a vaccine shot, isn’t it likely that he/she/ze/they has already had a SARS-CoV-2 infection and therefore has at least as good immunity as someone who is vaccinated?

Last night, from the Juno Beach Pier:


  • “These Health Care Workers Would Rather Get Fired Than Get Vaccinated” (NYT, 9/26): a selection of those who might be easily recruited
  • “Mount Sinai hospital leaders holed up in Florida vacation homes during coronavirus crisis” (New York Post, March 28, 2020): While heroic staffers beg for protective equipment and don garbage bags to treat coronavirus patients at a Mount Sinai hospital, two of the system’s top executives are waiting out the public health catastrophe in the comfort of their Florida vacation homes, The Post has learned. Dr. Kenneth Davis, 72, the CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System who pulled down nearly $6 million in compensation in 2018, is ensconced in his waterfront mansion near Palm Beach. Davis has been in the Sunshine State for weeks and is joined by Dr. Arthur Klein, 72, president of the Mount Sinai Health Network, who owns an oceanfront condo in Palm Beach.
  • No exceptions for “people who are pregnant, lactating, or planning to become pregnant” from the New York Department of Health: … all pregnant individuals be vaccinated … Vaccination of pregnant people against COVID-19 also serves to build antibodies which may protect their baby from COVID-19 infection. … pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19… If pregnant people have questions about getting vaccinated… If someone is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, healthcare providers should discuss the risk to the pregnant person … Vaccinations for Lactating People … A lactating person may choose to be vaccinated… . Pregnancy alone is not a valid “health condition” upon which to base a medical exemption.
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Chris Cuomo and what to avoid doing on the It’s a Small World ride

“Chris Cuomo Sexually Harassed Me. I Hope He’ll Use His Power to Make Change.” (New York Times, today):

“Now that I think of it … I am ashamed,” read the subject line of a 2005 email Mr. Cuomo wrote me, one hour after he sexually harassed me at a going-away party for an ABC colleague. At the time, I was the executive producer of an ABC entertainment special, but I was Mr. Cuomo’s executive producer at “Primetime Live” just before that. I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.

“I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. “No you can’t,” I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left.

What had been a private email is now public:

Note the domain for both sender and recipient… the super wholesome disney.com!

Separately, whatever your opinion of these allegations and the email between two people within the Happiest Place on Earth, isn’t it safe to say that there is no better family in New York State? Voters kept electing Cuomos to lead them and they kept tuning into CNN to watch Chris Cuomo. Maybe Chris and Andrew Cuomo, flawed though they may be, are as good as New Yorkers can get.


From earlier this month at Magic Kingdom, Orlando …

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Saying goodbye to Pride Month

A few images from Manhattan (June 12-13) as we say goodbye to Pride Month. Nordstrom, CVS, Foot Locker, and Pain Quotidien want to remind you of their commitment to LGBTQIA+:

The windows at Macy’s:

“You are who you are, and you love who you love, and that’s all there is to it… if there’s anything worth celebrating, it’s love.” (But what about old people who love to have sex with young people? We don’t always celebrate that, right, unless the people having sex are of the same gender ID? What about Kevin Spacey’s love for William Little (age 18 at the time)? Is that worth celebrating?)

But also remember that June is Immigrant Heritage Month. How many Native Americans celebrated?

June is also National Caribbean-American Heritage Month (census.gov):

According to the Institute of Caribbean Studies, “Caribbean immigrants have been contributing to the well-being of American society since its founding.

And I hope everyone celebrated National Turkey Lover’s Month. If your method of loving turkeys is to kill them and roast them at 350 degrees, celebrate National Candy Month just after. Fully vaccinated and still wearing a double mask while driving solo? That’s a perfect way to spend June, which is National Safety Month. Sleepless in your bunker for fear that coronavirus has slipped inside on a grocery store bag that you forgot to wipe down with bleach? In 2014, the U.S. Senate designated June as PTSD Awareness Month (see the Los Angeles Times, 2014: “As disability awards for PTSD have grown nearly fivefold over the last 13 years, so have concerns that many veterans might be exaggerating or lying to win benefits.”).


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TWA Hotel at JFK

This is a report on a June 23 visit to the TWA Hotel, a conversion of the former TWA Flight Center terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen and used from 1962 through 2001. Essentially two big new apartment/hotel blocks were built and the preserved portion is used as the lobby.

If you don’t mind paying $200 to park overnight, the best way to arrive is by single-engine piston airplane. Once the controllers stop laughing, taxi to Sheltair, chat with the helicopter taxi pilots, and the line guys will give you a ride to the hotel.

Try to schedule your visit for a day when the airport is using the 4/22 runways. The pool and the “runway view” rooms overlook 4L/22R, with 4R/22L behind. The action won’t be all that dramatic if the 13 runways are in use, but there is a reasonably good view of 31L. We visited when the 13/31 runways were closed for most of the day (painting?). It irked me slightly that I had to land the Cirrus in a crosswind gusting 20 knots when the airport has a 14,500′ runway oriented straight into the wind, but we were rewarded with a great afternoon and morning of plane-watching.

The hotel celebrates everything that was great/groovy about the 1960s. You won’t learn about the Vietnam War or the Great Society programs that have turned roughly half of Americans into government dependents (not to say “on welfare”!). There is an awesome car collection, including a Lincoln Continental with suicide doors, a Chrysler Newport, a Fiat Jolly, and an Isetta.

You’ll want to buy a reservation in advance to use the rooftop pool on the afternoon of your arrival (it is open to everyone from 7-10:30 am). When it is time for dinner, walk through the lobby to get to the restaurant (great food, stretched-thin service, reasonable (for NYC+airport) prices).

The hotel is tremendously fun for kids, with surprises in a lot of corners. Play Twister, visit Eero Saarinen’s office and drafting table, sit in a 1962 living room, sit at Howard Hughes’s CEO desk.

How about the rooms? Here’s ours before we trashed it (the kids are like 1970s rock stars, but without the musical talent). Perhaps 1/2 to 2/3rds the size of a standard Hampton Inn room. Note the Saarinen Womb Chair ($1000). There is no coffee maker in the room and no room service is available, so consider bringing some cold brew and keeping it in the mini-bar fridge (empty).

Can you run a hotel without bothering to answer the phone? Sort of. As an experiment, I called the hotel prior to arrival and waited on hold until a human answered. 50 minutes. From the room, however, dialing 0 for the front desk, as the rotary phone suggests one do, never resulted in any contact. This proved to be a problem when two dogs nearby embarked (so to speak) on an extended barkfest starting around 9:30 pm (past the sacred bedtime for our boys!). Senior Management was forced to walk down the hallway, go into the elevator, walk through the connector tube, and talk to the front desk in person. She was informed that the hotel didn’t have enough staff to figure out from which room the barking was emanating. Therefore, it became the guest’s job to explore the floors above and below our room. (We determined that the dogs were in the room just above ours, then went back to the front desk to report. The dogs’ owners were reached, but apparently they couldn’t make it back to their room so the situation continued until midnight).

(Other U.S. hotels seem to be on the same plan. I recently stayed at the Hilton in St. Petersburg, Florida and one of the members of our group waited on hold for nearly an hour, calling from the room, to reach the front desk.)

Speaking of noise… the windows are marvels of acoustic engineering and hardly any noise from 22R makes it into the room. Isolation from other rooms and the hallway is not as good, however, as we found out when listening to the canine chorus.

What about the level of coronapanic? The airport’s official site, June 22, 2021:

Due to ongoing health concerns regarding COVID-19, as of Friday, March 20,2020 concessions are only offering grab and go and takeout options, consistent with the latest New York and New Jersey directives. Food courts remain open, but we remind passengers to follow social distancing guidelines and to maintain at least 6 feet of separation between other guests. Many retail stores in the airports have closed. Please note that concessions are adjusting their hours of operation and opening status on a daily basis, and so we cannot guarantee any specific concessions or eateries will be open.

A minimum of 16 months to flatten the curve because 15 months plus vaccines plus PCR tests for nearly all passengers plus masks weren’t sufficient?

From the reservation service used by the hotel restaurant:

Per NYC indoor dining guidelines for COVID-19 safety, all guests will be required to have their temperature checked with a reading of 100.00 degrees or less and must provide a contact name, number, and mailing address prior to entering the restaurant as well as wear a mask at all times when not seated at their table.

Even if you want to read about how wise Dr. Fauci is, you can’t do so. The reading room has been closed for 15 months, but that’s “temporarily” and they “look forward to welcoming [us] soon”. Given the postage stamp sized rooms, it is a shame that any of the common space is sealed off.

Gym showers will be disinfected after use, in case surface contamination turns out to be a significant source of COVID-19. You will be protected from the hazard of drinking fountains by using these dangerous devices only to refill water bottles.

The actual gym is huge, perhaps 5X the size of what you’d expect. Nobody inside the gym actually cared about his/her/zir/their health, apparently, because nobody was wearing a mask (consistent with Manhattan customs, roughly half of the folks in the lobby, hallways, elevators, etc. were masked).

Taxiing out… (photo taken by a 7-year-old)

Summary: It’s a fun experience and well worth the $$ (about $500 for the room, pool reservations, dinner, breakfast for two adults and two kids; let’s try not to think about what it cost to run the Cirrus SR20!). We were not even done with the first day before the kids asked when we’d be coming back.

Sad contrast: The JetBlue Terminal 5 that has replaced this magnificent Jet Age building functionally. It is huge without being inspiring, packed with dispirited people being hassled every minute or two with signs and audio announcements regarding masks, and features long lines, e.g., for security. On the plus side, the kids enjoyed riding the AirTrain around all of the terminals!


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Masked in Manhattan

Some photos from a June 12-13, 2021 visit…

Summary: Based on observed behavior and discussions with folks we met on the street, New Yorkers continue to regard their city, including the outdoor environment, as contaminated. However, instead of taking the obvious step of moving somewhere that isn’t contaminated, e.g., Zoom it in from Vermont or Hawaii, they continue to reside in NYC and attempt to protect themselves from airborne contaminants via bandanas, paper surgical masks, and other non-N95 masks (keep in mind that N95 works only if professionally fitted).

The city has a moderately post-apocalyptic feel. As in Boston, many retail spaces are vacant while marijuana-related enterprises are thriving. “Safety First: No Entry Without a Face Mask” on the door of a shop selling cigarettes and vaping products and some of the numerous marijuana-related trucks that we observed:

(The city is awesome for parents who were looking forward to discussing the crucial benefits of cannabis with their young readers.)

Roughly half of New Yorkers seem to wear masks on the sidewalk. The younger and less at-risk the person is from COVID-19, the more likely he/she/ze/they is to be wearing a mask. Mask usage is less prevalent within Central Park.

Vaccination does not comfort the anxious. Nor does actual experience of COVID-19 infection as a mild illness. For example, on East 90th street we encountered a group of locals who were taking the ferry to East 34th. One appeared to be a white woman in her 30s. She said that she’d had COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 and that it was comparable to a bad cold. She said that she’d been fully vaccinated. Despite this background, she stated that she wouldn’t use the subway system anymore, however, “because of COVID.” (Masks are, in theory, required on these ferries, but if you sit on the open top deck the enforcement is non-existent and compliance is only about 70 percent.)

What about being 18 years old, rich, white, and healthy? The Dalton School for Rich Kids says that you should be “unafraid” …. and fully masked:

(see also “Sex-ed teacher out at Dalton after ‘masturbation’ lesson for first graders” (New York Post) and “Uproar at NYC’s posh Dalton School after faculty issues 8-page anti-racism manifesto”)

Official government-funded media: “Fully Vaccinated People Can Stop Wearing Masks Indoors And Outdoors, CDC Says” (NPR, May 13, 2021). Private buildings and stores, however, remain skeptical. A friend’s cooperative building (a handful of units per floor):

What people used to call a “Korean deli”:

Capitol One, powered by Pride and “face masks or covering” (a bandana is fine!):

Here’s the restroom in the restaurant section of the Time Warner mall at Columbus Circle (when will that be renamed?):

They’d gotten organized enough to block off sinks, but were not organized enough to fill the soap or paper towel dispensers (we were there at 6 pm on a Saturday evening, so there were quite a few hours left before cleaning/replenishing).

Evidence that almost everything related to COVID-19 is religious… here’s a restaurant’s “outdoor dining” area. It is fully enclosed with no windows. Air is provided by a standard AC/heat pump.

But you can’t get COVID, unlike in a restaurant’s standard indoor space, because it is outdoors.

The most orthodox Churches of Shutdown that we found are the art museums. Email from the Guggenheim Museum after after making a mandatory reservation:

You’ll need to wear a three-ply mask regardless of vaccination status — staff is required to, too — practice social distancing, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and pack light as our coat check is temporarily closed. Please plan ahead and read COVID-19 Safety Measures: What to Expect When Visiting.

In other words, they are fighting against an aerosol virus by cleaning surfaces and not touching their (rich white) visitors’ backpacks. (from November 2020: “The Coronavirus Is Airborne Indoors. Why Are We Still Scrubbing Surfaces?” (NYT): “Scientists who initially warned about contaminated surfaces now say that the virus spreads primarily through inhaled droplets, and that there is little to no evidence that deep cleaning mitigates the threat indoors.”). Among the below, my favorite is the exhortation to “Report violations of COVID-19 requirements by calling 311 or by texting ‘violation’ to 855 9044036.”

(How was the art? Nearly the entire museum is given over to a TV screen in the middle and visitors are supposed to stand and watch TV. Re/Projections:

To emphasize the works on display, many of the rotunda walls remain empty during Re/Projections.

Conceived in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, these projects rethink the Guggenheim’s iconic rotunda as a site of assembly, reflection, and amplification.

Artist Christian Nyampeta considers new models for globalism based in reparation and the possibility of a common world in an age dominated by difference.

Featuring renowned love songs written by men and played by women and nonbinary musicians, Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance celebrates pop music while revealing a culture shaped by chauvinism.

Our visit coincided with Christian Nyampeta’s work. It is unclear how much in reparations the (overwhelmingly white) visitors will want to pay after shelling out $25/ticket to the Guggenheim.)

Email from the Metropolitan Museum: “Face coverings are required for all visitors age two and older, even if you are vaccinated.” In other words, they’re somewhat less strict than the Guggenheim in that a bandana is considered effective PPE and museum employees won’t be inspecting your mask to determine the number of plies. Where the Met has the Guggenheim beat is in requiring visitors to wear masks in outdoor spaces, e.g., the rooftop garden:

The museum employs an official mask karen for this garden and he would periodically remind the scattered folks on the roof to keep their masks on. He also hassled a mom and dad for walking 20′ away from their two-brat stroller while taking a photo. Separately, where is Big Bird’s mask? (or maybe this isn’t Big Bird due to copyright issues? Big Bird is yellow)

The museum was mostly empty, possibly a consequence of the reservations required policy (though, as a practical matter, nobody checked whether or not we had a reservation). The slightly tighter spaces in the museum are closed off for safety:

There are COVID-19-related signs roughly every 10-20 feet throughout the museum. And, of course, water fountains are closed. Here is a sampling:

If you’re passionate about 1 gender ID out of 50+, make sure to get to the Met between July 2 and October 3 for “The New Woman Behind the Camera”:

The New Woman of the 1920s was a powerful expression of modernity, a global phenomenon that embodied an ideal of female empowerment based on real women making revolutionary changes in life and art. Featuring more than 120 photographers from over 20 countries, this groundbreaking exhibition explores the work of the diverse “new” women who embraced photography as a mode of professional and artistic expression from the 1920s through the 1950s. During this tumultuous period shaped by two world wars, women stood at the forefront of experimentation with the camera and produced invaluable visual testimony that reflects both their personal experiences and the extraordinary social and political transformations of the era.

The exhibition is the first to take an international approach to the subject, highlighting female photographers’ innovative work…

Is it fair to say that referring to “female photographers” reflects cisgender-normative prejudice? Holding the phone just above a 6′ screen:

The Museum has a new Dr. Fauci section. Truth and Research:

What does Research tell us about the Truth regarding the origins of this most pernicious virus? The New York City government wants to remind you that it is Asians who are responsible for COVID. Times Square:

“Fight the virus, not the people” and “Stop Asian Hate”! Who are “the people” that we’re told to associate with “the virus”?

One of the more peculiar aspects of NYC and COVID today is that the stay-in-NYC New Yorkers assert that they’re lives are completely back to “normal”. Yes, they’re wearing masks indoors and out, avoiding the subway, mostly not working in offices, not going to concerts or theater, etc. But this is indistinguishable from the way that life was in 2019. In some ways, they seem to be correct. Traffic leaving Manhattan on a Sunday was bad and traffic returning was terrible, with at least 5 miles of parked cars jamming the approaches to the Lincoln Tunnel from the New Jersey side.

The cost of an Uber is up roughly 50 percent:

Inequality continues to be a public health emergency at Teterboro (ancient V-tail Bonanza in front of a Gulfstream V):

(Excellent service as always at Meridian and parking a four-seat piston-powered plane is cheaper than parking a car oin Manhattan! (parking fee waived with purchase of 20 gallons of 100LL) My standard tip of $20 for the line guys will soon be insulting; inflation is already at 8% per year.)

On the way out we did the Skyline Route down the Hudson at 2,000′, turned around at the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and came back up at 1,500′. If you don’t count LaGuardia Tower and Newark Tower, a good time was had by all!

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