NYU Students Reflect on Staying in the City

New York City is still home for these students who left campus.

New York City today is no longer the same busy metropolis as it was a month ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students still in NYC discuss their experiences and the changes they’ve noticed since NYU has closed. (Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

With the COVID-19 outbreak growing, NYU made the controversial decision to close campus; yet, some students had to stay in New York and brave the current epicenter of the pandemic.

NYU’s choice to close dorms left many international students without a roof over their head. Among them Arice Liu, a Liberal Studies first-year from China.

“I moved out of the dorm a week ago,” Liu said. “The school offered us lots of boxes for packing up, so I packed up all my stuff and reserved a car to move to the apartment I rent in Jackson Park, Long Island City.” 

After completing a move she, alongside many other New Yorkers decided to stock up on necessities.

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“I went out shopping once a few days ago and there are very few people on the streets but only a small portion of them are wearing masks,” she recalls. “I don’t know at this moment what the stores look like, but several days ago the store I went to was still supplied with goods. what [sic] I do know is that lots of online delivery, like Amazon fresh [sic] and Whole Foods are all out of spots for delivery, so probably I will need to get outside for food a few days later.”

New York changed a lot in the face of this crisis and native New Yorkers were the ones to notice first.

“I think I’m just lucky because I live here, so moving home wasn’t as big of an inconvenience as it could’ve been,” CAS first-year and Queens local Angelique Bailey said. “NYC [sic] just feels really dead, Nothing’s open, everyone’s terrified, and the news isn’t helping at all. NY1 has become this constant feed of bad news. Being with family makes it worse because my parents are a bit paranoid.” 

Bailey described the stagnant shift in daily life within New York City, something we all can feel. 

“I’m not really doing anything,” she said. “Everything I’d enjoy is closed for now, which I get. I’ve lived here my entire life, so it is really weird to not go out and rely on public transportation as much, but I’ve been managing pretty well. It’s just been lots of sleeping and playing Animal Crossing.”

One of the most eventful things for Bailey was going grocery shopping with her parents. She observed the stores on Long Island, where they drove to buy produce and necessities in bulk, deserted and the shelves quite empty.

Bailey has been surprised to see many New Yorkers going out and breaking social distancing at a difficult time like this.

Liberal Studies first-year Carissa Gould, who lives in Manhattan on the Lower East Side, noticed the way social distancing impacted the life of the city acutely.

“My sister & [sic] I have been quarantined for 12 days now. Because of that, I’m doing just about the same things everyone else in the country is doing, I’m just doing it in the city that’s supposed to be full of endless possibilities,” she said. “Obviously that’s a good thing, because for everyone’s safety people should be staying home and there should be restrictions on going out. It’s just so contrary to the essence of energy NYC usually cultivates.”

Last time Gould was able to leave her apartment was for a workout with her sister in Hudson Piers, about two weeks ago on March 17. She hasn’t been comfortable leaving the apartment since and gets her fresh air on the roof their superintendent gave them access to. Around the same time, Gould went grocery shopping to stock up.

“Grocery shopping was a mess two weeks ago,” she said. “Trader Joe’s had us wait outside in a line, so that only a safe amount of people were inside at one time, but there were no restrictions on how close people stood to each other.”

Cooped up in isolation, Gould’s feelings about the situation shift and change as the crisis evolves.

“It’s cool seeing the city come together in spirit to shut this thing down,” she said. “Just at the same time, it feels like I’m living in a post apocalyptic world when I look outside to 6th Avenue & see only 15 cars pass in five minutes, four of which are cop cars. It’s weird to think that my everyday life here right now is probably more restricted & presents less opportunity than everyday life in some small town in Oklahoma.”

Email Ruhaan Mutsuddi at [email protected]

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