A View of a Changing City From Greenpoint

A View of a Changing City From Greenpoint

A tender moment in Greenpoint [Credit: Sloane Verbic]

(NEW YORK) — There is this little patch of grass that overlooks the East River in Greenpoint. Since I’ve been locked up in my apartment after moving to Brooklyn in late August, it has become my place of solitude away from my roommate and responsibilities. When I come here, I put my phone on “do not disturb” to free myself from the demands on my attention. I come here to escape, to recharge, and to enjoy the last few days of mellow summer air.

Summer may be over, according to the calendar and the abrupt change in New York City weather, but the energy I’ve perceived from this little patch of grass near the water is that of rebirth and appreciation for life—symbols of summer. This energy reminds me of the first weeks of quarantine when the sense of community was stronger than ever, when everyone you passed on the street smiled with their eyes (mouths sure to follow behind their masks), when the most rewarding part of our day was going to the grocery store, and when we all shared a common goal: survival.

I imagine the scene at the little patch of grass was different before—before the coronavirus pandemic, before mandatory quarantine, before national unrest, before the most crucial election of our lifetimes.

I come here a few times a week or as often as I can. I see people getting on and off the East River ferry, hailing from Queens, traveling to Midtown Manhattan. I see dogs, babies, friends, lovers, families, loners, commuters, skaters—all with their own motives for coming to this little patch of grass near the water. I wore a thin, cropped sweater thinking the crisp air wouldn’t betray me, but as I sip my ice-cold matcha latte, I regret my naivety. Fall is here, I think to myself.

Looking out at the water, I see the Manhattan skyline. The Empire State building catches the radiant, golden sun in a beautiful way. The East River glistens. And if I didn’t know what was in that water, it might persuade me to jump into it. Rivers historically symbolize the passage of time, which is fitting for this moment in our lives, in tandem with the changing seasons. Summer’s youthful yesterday and fall’s transformative tomorrow.