Hudson Valley Lifestyle

Lifestyle

From style to sustainability, Chronogram’s Lifestyles section follows how those in the Hudson Valley live their lives.

 

Riding the Curve: Hudson Valley Bike Shops Enjoy a Boom in Sales

Bicycles are the COVID-19 Hot Commodity that No One Saw Coming
Across the nation, during COVID-19, sales and repairs of bicycles have increased astronomically, leaving many bike shops booming in an otherwise quiet economic period. While increased sales in metropolitan areas have more to do with avoiding the pandemic petri dish of public transportation, in rural areas like the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, folks are turning to biking as a socially distant way to exercise, enjoy nature, and spend time with the family.

Tags: Outdoors

Why We Stayed Home

We are staying home, we are staying safe, we are #flatteningthecurve. We are waking up to beg the children to go back to sleep—just five more minutes. We make strong coffee and divide the day on whiteboards. We color code to distinguish who needs to be working and who wrangling. We wait for the homework that the teacher sends each morning to rescue us. We look at our phones to reassure ourselves that other people are still there, that everyone we know and all the celebrities we love are all also sitting around with their hair too long and their eyebrows gone rogue. Someone has made bread! Someone has seen something delightful on a walk. Someone has illustrated a daily inspiration. Someone has organized their closet, their garage, their pantry, their freezer, their junk drawer. We are bored. We are terrified. We are running low on toilet paper, which we joke about without ever actually addressing what we are preparing to do in its absence. We keep calm. We carry on—though, what, exactly that means we don't have any idea at all. What should we carry? And to where? We have our worries, our lame jokes, our muted rage, and our insistence that this could all be worse. We hide in the bathroom to read the news because it's the only privacy left. In there, we can read the email from friends who work in medicine. There is nothing we can do to help them but listen and stay home—which we are mostly doing. We know that we are lucky, incredibly lucky, to be so far behind the front lines. Sometimes we go outside to verify that the world still exists, that our towns and city blocks are waiting for us. Hang on, we think, as we pass by. We are trying to get back to you. Every day we are losing uncles and grandparents and mothers and colleagues. We are furloughed, we are laid off. We are stranded in hastily rented vacation homes. We are sitting, and watching, and waiting. We make cakes for each other's birthdays and eat them together on a video chat. We spend most of our time figuring out when we will work and what we will eat. What is it like? We ask ourselves. Will it be like the last time the markets tanked, or the time before that? Will it be like waiting to be drafted into war, or like waiting for a hurricane to change paths? We solemnly declare that nothing will ever be normal again, but we remember saying that the last time too. We reread the library books that were due weeks ago. We change our Zoom backgrounds. We have all seen that meme, by now, but just in case we send it to someone who might not have, yet. We sew facemasks. We remain distant, socially. We wave to our neighbors from our windows. We wonder what we'll remember of this, in the end—when it ends. When the skies are clear we go out for long walks in the woods, stepping off the paths when others approach. We are more aware of springtime than we've been in years; the air has never been clearer. Everywhere there are signs of nature, happily filling the voids we've left. The sunsets are spectacular; we chart the phases of the moon before bedtime, because she at least keeps changing. At night, when the children are asleep, we unmake their pillow forts and clear their art projects from the table. We enjoy the first silence of the day. But soon we'll fill it, talking about the children and everything they said and did all day long. What else can we do? We drink whatever's handy. We call a friend who "has it" and lives alone; we sit up together until they can take Tylenol again. We check in with people we haven't talked to in years, and sign every email, 'hope you're well' in a way we've never really meant before. We lie in bed, rotating through the dark and silent night, waiting for sleep to fall over us, and to dream, again, of a world waiting for us to return. Kristopher Jansma is the director of the Creative Writing Program at SUNY New Paltz and the author of, most recently, Why We Came to the City. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

An Excellent Grocery Store

This will sound odd, perhaps, but when this crisis began my real worry wasn't that I would fall sick. My greater fear was that I wouldn't be able to get food for my kids. It was perhaps irrational, this fear. When I went to the large grocery stores in Poughkeepsie, I saw that people were tense. Some appeared to act in a near frenzy. I blamed myself when I saw that there was no chicken to be found on the shelves and no canned beans either. Not even any tofu, which baffled me for some reason, and certainly no wipes or gloves. For a few days, I felt all my fears had come true. I began to think I would have to serve my family canned sardines for a few weeks. I'm exaggerating a bit, but not by much. Then I stopped by my neighborhood grocery store, My Market, at the corner of Raymond and Fulton in Poughkeepsie. I live across from Vassar College campus and this grocery store is a five-minute walk from my house. In the past, we would go there to pick up ingredients we were missing. More than once I went there just to get ingredients for cocktails—lime, an orange, mint, soda, sugar—if friends said they were coming over for drinks. This was my routine: I would enter the store, and Ali, who usually works at the deli counter there, would ask me how I was doing. 'Excellent,' I would always answer. Sometimes, even without the exchange, Ali would see me enter and begin the chant. 'Excellent, excellent.' Now, maybe in the third week of March, I stopped at My Market and found there all that I had been looking for. Chicken, a variety of beans, greens, even tofu. The only thing I couldn't find were gloves. I mentioned this to Mohsin who was behind the counter and he took some gloves out from the box behind him and put them in my bag. He didn't accept any payment for them. Over these last two or three weeks, I have returned there often and the store has been a source of comfort to me. It would be accurate to say that I have come to regard the store as a refuge. All these years, 10 at least, I have been seeing the same four people working at the store. They are three men and one woman. I talked to them today, asking questions I had never asked before. I learned that all of them are from a town called Rasht in northern Iran. I discovered that the lady behind the cash register, a pleasant woman with a bird-like voice, is named Minoo. She said that business is down; they only have one-fourth the usual number of customers. Most Vassar students, eager customers of breakfast food and chips, are no longer around. Those items are not selling now. Nor are items like medicine or shampoo. But toilet paper sales are up. I asked Ali what the news was from Iran. That country has been particularly hard-hit. He said he has family there and he checks in with them on FaceTime. Things there are just like it is here. I didn't press him for details. We were both talking with our masks on. I then asked Ali if any customer had been rude or said anything racist. He said no, everyone has been nice. I'm glad that My Market is open for us. And that the four friends who work there are wearing masks and gloves. Today I saw that they had erected a plastic sheet in front of the cash register for protection. The people who are providing most of the essential services to all of us are hardest hit by COVID-19; they are also, overwhelmingly, working-class people of color. As I was writing this, I read of a 27-year-old grocery store clerk in Maryland, Leilani Jordan, who has died from the coronavirus. Earlier, she had complained to her mother that her employer, Giant Food, didn't provide masks or gloves. Jordan was forced to bring her own hand-sanitizer to work. After the young woman's death, Giant Food gave her mother a certificate for Jordan's six years of service and a paycheck for $20.64. Amitava Kumar is the author of the novel Immigrant, Montana and, most recently, Every Day I Write the Book: Notes on Style. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Isolation To-Do List

1. Wake up. Optional. 2. Get dressed. Optional. 3. Coffee. 4. Grunt at family and confirm that elderly cat still alive. 5. News 6. Coffee and amphetamines and Xanax. 7. Eat breakfast. Or not. But probably. Most important meal of the day. (Insert random semi-structured intervals throughout day of child-centered madness and your inability to teach them anything because you can't even understand how they do division these days or what, exactly, the hell is an adverb again and how long, really, does it take this kid to read a paragraph and thanking the heavens above for your wife who is the brains and backbone of this operation and will certainly get us through the apocalypse.) 8. Coffee. 9. Stare at work computer screen for a while (without checking email because we know what happens then) and think about all the things I really should be doing. Like: designing ventilators in my garage, spending more time with my kids, trailblazing innovative approaches to vaccine production, dismantling the patriarchy, fabricating an entirely new career from scratch because I am not sure I will ever have a job again and am not qualified for any real jobs, quit sniffing glue, restructuring approaches to national healthcare, attacking income and racial inequalities head on, getting that weird bump on my back looked at, disrupting educational paradigms by designing an entirely new national curriculum and forcing Texas to just deal with it, working on my relationship, getting a responsible non-scumbag elected president, and finally dealing with global warming once and for all. 10. Do Facebook for a few hours instead. 11. Coffee. (Insert really long, semi-manic, rambling FB posts at random points throughout the day, but usually before 2PM. This one counts.) 12. Coffee. 13. 20-30 minutes of actual work, what little you have left, following 2 hr anxiety attack about same. (insert various randomly spaced medical, uh, "infusions" throughout day to help deal) 14. Think wistfully about last cup of coffee you had. 15. Remember that you forgot lunch right before having dinner (see item 6 plus infusions). 16. Remember all the shit you were supposed to think about doing earlier but didn't (see infusions). 17. As it is getting dark, think about what you should have worked on outside. 18. Go to bed for a while and ponder your mortality and what has become of you and your role in the world. 19. Get out of bed for dinner. 20. Kid bed time! (Alternatively: Yay, NyQuil Time!) 21. Spend 20 minutes "cleaning studio." 22. TV Time! 23. Bed Time! Where you spend an inordinate amount of time considering points 1-24 of the day and question all your decisions and vow to use your privilege do better the next day before falling asleep in a cloud of drug induced bliss and fear induced anxiety. 24. Get up and pee. Dammit. 25. Go back to bed. 26. Start all over again. Pete Mauney is a Tivoli-based photographer who can be found on Instagram at Instagram @pete_mauney. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Benched

I spent the first few weeks of New York's COVID-19 epidemic the way I've spent the past 18 years, as a working journalist covering the Hudson Valley. It had been that way since 2002 when I arrived at The Daily Freeman with a belated BA in journalism from Brooklyn College, a pregnant wife and a bunch of clips I'd acquired as a police beat and general assignment reporter for a weekly newspaper chain in Manhattan. I'm what people in the business call a "hard news" reporter. Yeah, I can do restaurant reviews, write up an art gallery opening, even write a personal essay if I really have to. But my specialty is the everyday stuff of property taxes and infrastructure programs, drug busts and city council elections. Much of the work is routine, sometimes not much more than fleshing out a press release with a few live quotes and fresh statistics. But the real work, what they pay you for, are the enterprise stories; the ones where you start with a tip, a rumor, a hunch and end up with the best kind of news, the kind that leaves your competitors wondering how they hell you got it and how the hell they missed it. In early March 2020, with COVID-19 just beginning its grim march from "News of the World" to news in your backyard, I was thirsty for that kind of story. Local government officials were practicing a form of extreme message discipline that was equal parts understandable and infuriating. At first, news was doled out at press conferences held at the county office building or the Sheriff's Office. Then it was "tele-town halls," where the public got to ask the questions and the press got to write up recaps for anyone who missed it and couldn't figure out how to access an archived Facebook live event. A journalism professor, and old school New York tabloid type, once told me that you'd never get a scoop standing around a crowd of reporters at a press conference. Now I was reduced to sitting at my kitchen table on a conference call with my sources and the whole damn county. As frustrating as the situation was, it was also invigorating. The stately pace of the weekly newsroom I'd called home for the past dozen years suddenly bustled with a charge of electricity as we worked to keep up with a story that moved at the speed of a sneeze. Deadlines, which used to be Wednesday, became "Now" instead. The rut that everyone gets into when they do the same job for long enough began eroding at the sides until it started to feel like standing on an edge. It felt good. And then it all blew right up. I got a call from my editor on a Tuesday informing me that layoffs were imminent. The next day an email from the publisher made it official, for the first time since the Clinton administration I was out of the news business. In those first days after my layoff, I received a lot of well-meaning encouragement from friends and family to keep up the good fight; start a blog, start a website, start a daily live broadcast from the toilet paper aisle. But, after a quarter century as "the working press" that felt fake and slightly unhinged—like Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy putting on an ersatz Johnny Carson show in his mom's basement, interviewing imaginary guests for an imaginary audience. Instead, I do what everyone else does these days; get a little exercise walking up and down the road, try not to worry about things that aren't in my grasp and try to stay out of the bourbon until 5pm Eastern Standard Time. And I think a lot about another Martin Scorcese film, Goodfellas. The part at the very end when Ray Liotta/Henry Hill stands on the stoop of his cookie-cutter house in his cookie-cutter subdivision reflecting on his days as a high rolling gangster before the witness protection program rendered him an anonymous everyman. I never had front row seats at the Copacabana or cops or politicians on my payroll, but I did have plenty of both on my speed dial. If you asked me about some local issue, I had an insider's view I could share with you. I was a newsman and I made the news. Now I have to wait around for it like everybody else. I hope I'll get back in the news game, but in the back of my mind I worry that I'll have to live the rest of my life like a schnook. Jesse J. Smith is currently viewing the story of the century from the sidelines. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Letter from Buenos Aires

Every day starts the same. The beep of the thermometer while I sit on the toilet peeing. I don’t bother working out the math anymore. Less than 37 Celsius, I’m good. No coronavirus today! Sometimes after my pissing temperature routine I stand on the hot pink scale I recently had delivered from the local pharmacy chain. This math I usually do, even though it’s useless. Less than 60, I’m good. Without a way to run, 50 kilos is not getting any closer, and the siren call of Zoom Zumba has yet to enchant me. Even though I’m on the other side of the equator riding out the tail end of summer, I’ve been cooking up heavy, heavy winter foods—pork roasts and butternut bisques, creamy saffron risottos, bean stews, and four-hour bolognese sauces—as if anything lighter and I would just float away. Foods for grounding, foods for comfort. Foods for Fuck the World is Breaking. I make coffee and walk the dog. Or walk the dog then make coffee. I can never figure out which is better. Then I sit on my patio, with its swimming pool blue walls, roll a cigarette, and check the numbers. The daily dread rodeo. Though the streets are hauntingly quiet and everything screams NOT NORMAL, the sun chariot still makes its daily commute from east to west (although across the north here, which never ceases to befuddle my hippocampus). I compulsively trace its movement in shifting patches of light. The ray that falls on the kitchen floor at 9:20. That unreachable patch in the top right corner of the patio wall at 1:30. That time in late afternoon—5ish, I think—when its rays soak the upper floors of the buildings in front. The red one, matte like adobe, feels warm to the sight. I yearn to feel that primordial heat on my skin. The white one next to it casts a secondary brightness onto the patio walls. Sun reflected its better than no sun at all. Being outside has become a deep craving, a maddening addiction. And what a temptress nature has been. By and large, these days in quarantine have been exceptional. Big shining blue skies glimpsed through the cookie cutter of my walled patio. And the couple days of rain, necessary, right. A collective wail. Somehow—magically—the seasons still know to change, even though everything else is broken. Maybe the trees didn’t get the memo, because every day they strew the streets with golden leaves. Sycamore mostly, and ash too, which hasn’t yet met its emerald borer here. God praise the dog. The big, waggy, goldness of him. A hall pass in the time of corona, when cops patrol every second corner, managing to blend menace and disinterest in a single gaze. One exasperated Sunday morning, I tried to take him for a jog, and we both got sent home, tail between our legs. Bad girl! I am tired of being alone. I want to be hugged. I want to stand on Santa Fe Avenue on a warm sticky Friday night as the yellow cabs zoom by and the girls in miniskirts traverse the crosswalks in packs, leaving contrails of raw sex appeal in their wake. I want to rub elbows with strangers on the bus as we lurch down Las Heras. I want to dance, pouring sweat, in a sardine can club full of beautiful unfamiliar faces. I ache for the city to come alive again, to feel its vigorous thumping pulse. La ciudad de la furia. The city of fury, silent. It’s all wrong. Marie Doyon, Chronogram’s digital editor, is the world’s youngest snowbird; she lives in Argentina half the year. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

The Unemployed and Single Lockdown Manifesto

Mandatory daily walk, even if it's just around the block. Sit outside and watch things for a while. Longer. Longer still. When you clean your space, pretend like your apartment is a bed and breakfast and you're preparing for a special guest to arrive. Get dressed (out of PJs) at least every other day. Do not let your thoughts dwell on the possibility of touching another human (because it ain't happenin'), unless you have just taken zzzquil and you'll be unconscious soon anyways. Make fancy foods for yourself, like a pie. However, if you make a large quantity (like a pie), make firm plans to get rid of at least half of it...like leaving it for a non-immunocompromised neighbor or putting it in the freezer (the single person's secret food hiding spot). Failing to do this will ultimately result in resentment towards the food, i.e. "Oh god, I have to eat that pie again today. Day 8 but I cannot waste it because this is a crisis." If you have the option to do something in a short amount of time or a longer amount of time, always choose the longer one. If you feel a cry coming on, get off of Instagram Live first, and then let it all go. Never, under any circumstance, listen to the White House briefings. Make a real effort not stare at yourself in Zoom meetings. Plan out your following day the night before. Any activity besides sleeping can go on the schedule. Start growing anything you can get your hands on; avocado pits, sprouts, celery stubs, random branches, succulents from CVS, etc. Seeing plants grow will remind you of the passing of time. Dance at least once a day. If you get cold, dance. Your apartment isn't cold, you just haven't moved in nine hours. When in doubt, start soaking some dried beans. By the time they are ready, you will know what to do with them. Listen to your thoughts like you are listening to a friend. Hear them out, then move on to a new subject gently and mercifully. Seriously, forget the idea of "making the most out of your quarantine." It is an extension of the productivity-minded rhetoric of grinding capitalism. You do not need to be productive to have worth. Read anything you've got. Make low-key art. If you feel like taking a nap, go ahead. No need to set an alarm. Look at as many flowers as you can. Look closer. Closer still. Rearrange things and decorate your space. When you do this, pretend like you are in quarantine for an indefinite period of time and this space is your whole world. Wait... yeah. Alex Bildsoe is an artist/writer/illustrator from Minnesota who is currently making and distributing zines from her cozy hobbit hole in Kingston. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Neil Young for Dummies

Submissions from Coronavirus quarantined readers on everything from their journals, to art projects.

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

A Toilet Paper Tale

I was barely aware of the ramifications of the recently-announced oncoming pandemic when suddenly there was a stampede for toilet paper. The local government had just announced that, in order to avoid spreading the virus, we "might" have to stay home for two weeks. The schools would close, yada yada yada. I trotted casually to the supermarket to get some extra cans for the pantry. Next thing I knew, there were viral videos of people having fist fights in supermarket aisles. Over toilet paper. A woman on a checkout line leaned her body possessively over her cart piled high with toilet paper while another woman yelled at her that she "Only wanted one pack, you greedy bitch!" And then the "bath tissue" aisles in all the stores were empty. I still didn't get it. The first time I saw giant packs of Charmin piled high down the main aisle in Target, I ignored them. Other people stared for a moment as if they couldn't believe it, before diving in to grab one. But as the projected—and mythical—"two weeks" evolved into four, I got it. I didn't think I would need that much toilet paper. But after I saw the future, I scored a 20-pack one day at Walmart, and two eight-packs at Hannaford a few days later. It was after that that completely empty shelving became the norm. I live with my family—me on the top floor in a separate apartment, the five of them (three grandkids) downstairs. I was pretty well set. But they, with five times as many people, were not set for long. I got a text from their dad: "If you run across any toilet paper, we're down to our last four rolls." He and my daughter were working at home, and only shopping on Wednesday evenings (discount night at Adams). The odds of finding toilet paper in a store at the end of a day were zip. Especially at Adams. Adams had never carried toilet paper. And there was no "running across." And now the supermarkets, when they had it, were limiting purchases to one pack per family per day. It staved off the hoarding. Suddenly a rumor: Sam's Club had toilet paper! I wasn't a member so I arranged with a friend who was, to meet her there. Lo and behold, they still had some at ten the next morning. Gigantic pack of Charmin. But I had to join the Club to be permitted to buy it ("one per member"). Well, I couldn't just walk away. ("Only four rolls left," he'd said.) No doubt the most expensive pack of Charmin ever sold. Now the virus was in full crawl so I was only shopping at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings. The stores were pretty empty then, and I could get in and out before the six-foot rule became impossible. If ever an item was going to be available, that was when. But we all had enough now, right? Third week, Dad texted again. Down to four rolls. They were racing through it. So that Saturday morning, I carefully planned my route and set out early. And the gods smiled upon me. Thirty-four rolls in Target, eight rolls in Walmart, eight jumbo rolls in Hannaford. Does this mean that the suppliers are coming back? No more shortages? Remains to be seen. The government is bouncing back and forth between open it all up next week, or keep it closed down for another month. People are sick and dying all over the world. Who would have imagined that locally the biggest issue would have been toilet paper? Judith Emilie's writing was recently published in Persimmon Tree, and has been presented in readings around the Hudson Valley. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Crumby

I want to be a crumb. I want to be a forgotten piece of bread on the kitchen floor that even the dog doesn't notice. All I want to do all day of everyday is curl up in a ball and forget. I want to forget the loneliness, depression, anger, hurt, and confusion. My brain hurts as it becomes that dried-up, old piece of food that no vacuum can ever seem to reach, but my body is still here. There is still so much to do. Contrary to my belief, the world has not stopped and I have to keep pushing through.  I can't be the crumb on the ground, I have to be the breadwinner. I still have class, I still have duty, I still have work, I still have to take care of myself. I'm slicing myself up into rations that should hold me over for the rest of the semester, but it seems no matter how hard I try, I'm starving. My expiration date has long passed, but yet I sit on the countertop waiting for someone to use me, unable to throw myself out because I can't afford to. I need it to keep going, even if it makes me sick. I'm so close to the end. I have to see it through. It's not good enough. Everyday gets harder and harder as I get progressively more stale by the hour. I tighten up and shut everyone out. I look for crumbs on the floor to find something that will hold me over to the next day. But I find myself envious of the people who are making their homemade bread. How can they make their own bread when I feel spoiled and moldy? Erica Ruggiero is a senior at SUNY New Paltz and a Chronogram intern. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Day 21

Won't accept the past tense, lodged in me endless days ago, a woodchuck burrowed into my ribs, a burnt marshmallow down my throat, a dank fog that won't clear, drums beating between my ears. Sent its fever storming in the front door and took over. Stole away the flavor of coffee, wrung all the bite out of salt. Left me sweating on the couch and went to go grab my cousin by the collar, my schoolmate, my friends. The doctor sent me the medicine, white paper bag of experimental hope, but two pills later my heart panicked and nearly took a header down the stairs. This thing has a wildness, the jungle pulling you back by the hair. Just lately I think it might be losing interest, and next time it gets restless and heads out to roam the neighborhood I'm going to jump up and lock it out of my house. Jana Martin is the author of Russian Lover and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, a co-founder of Pendemic, and a contributing editor on The Weeklings. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Cool as a Cucumber

One fascinating thing for me to witness during all this is the unexpected, placid calm of my divorced, single, aging parents. To be clear, both of them would only accept the objective, practical truth that apparently, with each passing year, they get older. Otherwise, neither of them really cottons to the assumptions that accompany the passing of time. My mother is a natural, gifted worrier of sometimes Olympian proportions. In normal times, when I call her once I'm on the NJ side of the Hudson to let her know my ETA, her response is often, "Well for God's sake be careful." In response to her appeals that I "call her as soon as I land" (I do), or "call her when I get home from the show" (I won't), I regularly joke with her that if I'm dead she'll be the first to know.  I trace this kind of dire, expect-the-worst stance back to her native city, Exeter, being bombed by Germany during WWII, the family waiting the air raids out under the stairs. Her dad had been captain of the Exeter Football team until he had to rid houses of unexploded bombs during the war.  Fair enough to be a little uptight on occasion. I wonder and worry sometimes about her growing older and how much of that eventual care and providing of company will fall to me.  But, in the wake of coronavirus she's playing it reeeeaaaaaal cool.  When she found out people were hoarding toilet paper she jumped right in: "Godfather Dick! We never had that during the war! We all had to tear up the newspapers and string them along some rope in the bathroom! We didn't think twice about it. It was just one of many chores." She's familiar with rationing; it's an old childhood memory.  She's used to being alone, not for this long, but it's not alarming to her. Formerly a bit of a teetotaler, she now enjoys a mid-range chardonnay and that ding-a-ling phrase, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" while watching MSNBC. She talks to and feeds her menagerie of squirrels and birds daily. She plays word games on the phone with Loretta.  On March 18, my tour was cut short. I sit or nap, untested, in our tiny cabin, coughing and wondering if this tightness in my chest and loss of smell is it—I had run through the death-germ gauntlet of four airports and a 20-hour, packed flight on my race home from Australia. I wonder if the eight months of steady work and shows that were cancelled will reappear before my small savings run out, if this isolated, psycho-social form of identity theft will change, or reveal, things I didn't know about myself, if this is the best or worst time to try to write that damn pilot, if art made for live gatherings will transfer to digital platforms too clumsily so we should hold tight and protect it, if Carmine and I will ever have enough money after this to build our little dream house on this lovely piece of property so that my mum has a place to land when she's ready. That's all before noon, obviously, and then I remind myself that I should just feel lucky to be healthy right now and be able to step outside if the sun comes out. I've been so freaked out and had enough nightmares that I haven't been able to watch the dark and twisted dramas streaming all day and night and can only deal with re-runs of "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Sonny and Cher Show." Meanwhile, all of a goddamn sudden, Jeanette Jacqueline Margaret Miller Truscott's a cool cucumber. Adrienne Truscott is a performance maker and writer who splits her time between Tivoli, Brooklyn, and anywhere a gig takes her. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Domestic Pandemic: Stories from the Home Front

In April, we put out the call for submissions for first-person accounts of life in the contagion. The frustrations, the joys, the disruption, the boredom. We asked for journal entries, to- do lists, letters to dead relatives, manifestos, cries in the dark, homilies—every scrap of it. We wanted to get a snapshot of what it’s like to live right now, during this very strange time. We were a bit (delightfully) overwhelmed by the response: We received over 100 submissions for this section. (Phillip Levine, our poetry editor, put out his own call and received 1,200 poems!) The writings were randomly paired with COVID-19 photo/artwork submissions.  Thanks to all who submitted. Many worthy pieces didn’t make the cut simply because we didn’t have enough room.  Here is a collective portrait of life under COVID-19. May we never pass this way again. —Brian K. Mahoney ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Thursday

There's the ebb and flow of happiness and tears here. Lots and lots of both. And there's also a neat little surprise. First, the happiness. My grown son is home with me here, up from Brooklyn, now for over nearly a month. He smartly, and poignantly, rang me up and said, "I think I want out of here" and out he went, leaving a new apartment and a posse of partners in his music collective with whom he works. He grew up here, in Woodstock, and had been enjoying a robust life (almost ridiculously so) and successful (yes! as we say in Yiddish, I am kvelling!) as a working, self-supporting music producer. Now he's holed up here in Mount Tremper with me, a few miles away from his childhood home which I sold last summer in a downsizing move, so what serves as my guest bedroom (read: not his childhood bedroom) is now his headquarters. He's working from here, joining me for walks and meals (so many meals...we're going to explode) and cuddles with the dog and movie night when he wants to indulge me and puzzles and the rest of it. We are good "roommates"—we've done this before, this dance of two people living separately but together. We are well-matched and he hasn't whined once from boredom, at least, not out loud to me. I'm a great cook, and he's a champion sleeper, keeping late-night hours as he works with a writing partner in LA—by the time he's arisen after noon, I've got at least two or three meals or snacks percolating along here in my kitchen...which brings me to the sadness. So...next up: The tears. I stand here, in my kitchen, a kitchen that I designed down to the last detail with my partner who is not quarantined with me. We're separated, and depending on what time of day it is, that means any number of things, most of them tear- or anger-inducing and I think I've cycled through enough personalities on this to rival a remake of the 1970's psycho-docu-drama Sybil. While many of my friends are holed up with their beloveds, grousing about too much time under one roof, mock- or not-so-mock fighting about who's doing what chores and are-you-washing-your-hands-enough and "What do you mean, you're going for a walk without me?" squabbles (along with the companion piece to that, titled, "Thank God she's/he's/they're going for a walk without me; finally some peace!"), I'm jealous of those mini-fights, jealous of how they need to work it out before they collapse into their beds at night, jealous of tender moments of comfort, jealous of meals cooked together. This kitchen in my new house is where so many beautiful moments with my partner took place; I am a ship without a charted course, standing here, stirring pots on the stove or pulling trays out of the oven, thinking, thinking, thinking, and boy, those tears keep coming. When will I be cried out? And the surprise? My front porch. My slanted, sloping, definitely-in-need-of-a-paint-job front porch. It spans the entirety of my still newish small and cozy home, yet it's large enough that four people can gather here, safely separated by the mandated and dreaded 6+ feet of space—usually my son and I on one side, and one or two pals on the other side. Oh, this adorable covered porch! Who knew you'd be our paradise? We sit outside, wrapped in blankets when it snows (in April) and barefoot, listening to birds when it's been spring-like and dare I say, normal? My guests bring their own glasses, beverages, snacks. Everyone pees outside around the back. We laugh; we wave to neighbors walking by or cars that slow and honk. Sometimes I sit out there alone and those tears come. Sometimes I sit outside with my son and we laugh at the dog's ridiculous antics (no one is enjoying this pandemic like our lazy, spoiled little dog). Porch as panacea. Sometimes we try to figure out what day it is. The other day, a friend and I were positive it was Wednesday, as we sipped wine. It was Thursday. Abbe Aronson is a publicist and hopeless romantic. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Back Up Buster

In early November I was sitting in a church basement, gathered with like-minded people, listening to each other's stories. When the meeting was over the guy next to me coughed into his hand and then held that hand out to me so I could hold it while we said the serenity prayer. I didn't take his hand. Instead I fled that room and didn't go back to any like it for the rest of the year. In mid-January I went to Los Angeles for 3 weeks. While there I went to another meeting, because, you know, fresh air and sunshine. But people on the west coast kept complaining about a deep woeful cough they had had for months. I skedaddled halfway through. If you know me in real life you know my rules— no hugging from Halloween to St Patrick's Day. Elbow bumps instead of handshakes, but really, no contact is ideal. I can love you from afar. BACK UP, BUSTER! I know how flu and colds are spread. It's simple. This has caused huge rifts with friends, even as late as March 7th of this year. I made it clear that I was fine losing those friends. On March 11, I made the heart-wrenching decision to cancel Woodstock Bookfest 2020, which was to take place March 26-29. I had been working on it for months. I let my team and the authors know first, and was surprised by the people who wrote to say I was overreacting. A couple admonished me for panicking. That night I went out for a burger. That burger, delicious as it was, turned out to be the last meal I would eat that was not made in my own kitchen. Early on March 12 I realized serenity was slipping from my grasp. I was walking a fine tightrope between fear and fury, the wire straining to hold my grief. When scrolling through Facebook I saw an old friend was celebrating 20 years in those rooms. I texted her and a mutual friend of ours and we FaceTimed for an hour. We talked about the pandemic, but we also talked about what we talk about in those rooms, and how isolation isn't good for folk like us. We agreed to meet the next day on Zoom. We would each invite a friend or two, women like us. Live meetings were still happening in real churches, but I knew that was out of my comfort zone. And then, a week later, all the churches in New York State closed their doors, and every meeting went online. By then our little group had grown to over 50 women, some checking in from Los Angeles and Sante Fe, some from Europe. Most mornings I try to show up at 10am to be with the newcomers. It's hard to imagine what they're going through, to do this without being surrounded by people who look you in the eye, take you for coffee, reassure you. I also go for the old-timers. And to remember that doing this sober is so much easier than doing it drunk and high. And to laugh so deeply with strangers who remind me what serenity feels like. Martha Frankel is the author of Hats & Eyeglasses: A Memoir and the executive director of the Woodstock Bookfest. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Scarlet Fever

I flew from West Palm Beach to Philly on March 14, 2020, worried, like everyone else on the plane, about the air we were breathing. I had read that the window seat might be slightly safer than an aisle seat, so I opted for one. It was a clear, bright day. Even after we leveled off, I could see what was below. For a long time, the blue of the ocean stretched to meet the blue of the sky. Now and then a large, silent ship appeared. I chose to think these were cargo ships and tankers, not cruise ships full of people confined to their cabins. Later, we flew along a jagged coastline for a long time, until we turned in, over fingers of water mixed with land. Some fields were burning. As we began our descent, I reflected on the power of having known, with complete certainty, that this would surely be my last flight in a long time. What would have been, ordinarily, a cramped flight to endure had become a transcendent experience, full of unexpected beauty, outside time. When I arrived home, I self-isolated for two weeks, my own isolation blending quickly into the mandated one. I imagined I was on a silent retreat, and that I would get lots of projects finished. In the early days, one of my friends said, "I bet, at the end of all this, I will still not have my slipcovers made." Little by little, I adjusted my expectations, and began living each day, as it came. After three weeks, I searched my files for a story I knew was there of my mother having been quarantined as a child. The details were sketchy; when the family story was recorded, this quarantine seemed a small detail in the larger story of my mother's life. She'd had scarlet fever at 13, in 1927, and she'd been quarantined with her mother in their apartment in the Bronx, while her father and her sister stayed in another apartment nearby with her grandmother. Her quarantine, with a sign on the door forbidding entry, lasted three months, and the only details I had (oh, why had I not asked for more?) were that her teacher, Miss Delagar, had given her a book, which she treasured, and that her sister's boyfriend, Francis Eagle, who had only one eye due to a marble accident as a child, broke quarantine to come to see her. I found myself longing for more details. How had she and her mother gotten along those three months? Her father was the light-hearted one. During that long quarantine, when scarlet fever had no cure, when she probably knew that Beth March in Little Women had died of complications of it, and when the Velveteen Rabbit had been threatened with being burned because of it, what was it like for her, my sweet mother? Her sister was the one who played the piano, and her mother did the sewing. What did she do there, those three months? Was she scared, or too sick to be scared? Did she read? Did they even have a bathroom in their apartment? Did she sit at the window and watch the traffic on Grand Boulevard? I, too, was quarantined once, as a teenager. I spent a few weeks in isolation in the hospital, over Christmas. I was told that all my books, cards, and clothes would be burned when I left. Nobody but my parents and the doctor and the priest, gowned and masked, could visit me. My food tray was left on the floor, just inside my door. I looked forward, every day, to talking to the lovely man who came to mop my floor and clean my bathroom. The nurse's station, a small glassed-in room with green curtains I could see shapes through, was between my room and the room next door. I spent hours hoping to catch a glimpse of my neighbor, to find out what she had, who she was, to talk to her. I knew I was lucky that my room was at the end of the corridor, and that I had two bright windows. Now, antibiotics cure the strep throat that caused scarlet fever, and hepatitis patients are not quarantined. Many diseases have their times when little is known. I wish I had asked my mother about her experience of being in the middle of a long period of uncertainty, of being sick, of being isolated, but I know what she would have said, "It was fine. My mother took care of me. I got better. I've had a very good life." Marge Boyle is a retired English teacher. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Elevator Virus

My apartment building is in Washington Heights. It was built in 1920. It is a proud yet decrepit pre-war veteran of a building, housing 60 units and one small elevator that fits five people, if you're lucky. This is an elevator story. The elevator is like a tiny prison cell with an automatic sliding door. On each floor there is another door, outside the automatic sliding one, which must be opened to access the elevator. Each door has a small square window about head high crisscrossed with metal slats so one can barely see those outside waiting to enter the elevator. The window, in my prison imaginings, could be opened to slide in food, then quickly slammed shut. Inside, everything is embossed metal and steel. It is like an elevator out of Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor. It is March 2020 and I am avoiding the elevator at all costs. 'Social distancing.' I take the stairs. But on this particular day I have laundry to do and I don't want to clomp down the stairs with the laundry cart, go outside, open the locked gate to the alley and enter the basement where the laundry room is located. "Middle of the day," I think. "No one around." The elevator arrives. I get on. "No one. Whew." I push 'B.' We creak slowly down, 4, 3, 2... The elevator lurches to a stop in the lobby. As we stop, I can barely see a head outside the door window. It is my neighbor on 5. He is a sweet guy with a mild mental disability, round, smiling, Humpty Dumpty face. I am usually glad when I see him. We talk about baseball and he laments his forlorn Mets on our short elevator trips. But today I don't want to see him. Not today. Social distancing! Before he can open the door, I call out, "Going to the basement, going down," pointing down with my thumb through the small window. I frantically repeat the thumbs-down gesture like an ancient Roman at the Coliseum, thirsty for blood. He pulls the door open and gets on, smiling, laden with recycled shopping bags overstuffed with food. "I'll come for the ride," he says in his jovial, innocent voice. I scoot to the back of the elevator. "We are supposed to be six feet apart, you know," I say, trying to be amicable. He looks wounded and says, "I'll go over here in the corner and hold my breath." He turns away from me and puts his mouth up to the crook in his elbow as if he were going to sneeze into it. There is a huge intake of breath as he faces the wall. He talks through the holding of breath. "You'll be alright, I won't breathe," he says in a strained voice, his back toward me. The next 10 seconds are excruciating as I hear him straining to contain the air escaping from his lips. The elevator comes to a stop. The door opens and I push my cart swiftly out. As I look back through the little cell window I see him, facing the wall, still holding his breath, looking like a child who has been punished and sent to stand in the corner of the room. As I wheel the cart toward the laundry room the lump in my throat grows and my eyes fill with tears. So many tears, I cannot see where I am walking. I cannot see. How I will I ever separate the lights from the darks? Joe White is an actor and teaching artist. He is a member of Actors & Writers Theatre Company. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Front-Line Grocer

We don't sell empathy on our shelves. We have organic, free range, all natural, local, antibiotic-free, vegan-friendly, and sustainably harvested versions of nearly every product you can think of here at the grocery store, but we don't sell community in any aisle. Hot breath pollutes the inside of my mask, the latex of my gloves clinging to my skin as I pull forward olive oils and capers, coconut milk and sesame tahini. I wonder what my family is doing at home. My son is three, my daughter eight, and my wife I'm sure, is exhausted from running a daycare and homeschool while working more than ever. I miss them. I taught my associates that image is everything. In the grocery and retail business, it largely is. Since the virus emerged, a semblance of an image is all that can be maintained. My store has been stripped of structure and organization, the beauty of variety, and the comfort of quantity. It's been bled dry of courteous customers and replaced by fearful, selfish consumers. The virus has made everyone and everything uncomfortable. I don't have answers for my clientele on when their brand of sour cream will arrive, I don't know what time to tell my wife I'll be home, and I don't know when I can tell my kids we can go to the playground again. Aisle by aisle I methodically touch each product, exposing myself, my family, and everyone else to an unknown risk. I'm interrupted by requests, by complaints, and hands reaching all around my head. Despite the shortages of paper products, the disappearance of disinfectants, and the specter of hand sanitizer, I try to be thankful for what I have. Today, I am grateful for the cover my mask provides, as my customer service smile is no longer sure of itself. Elmore Kensing is a register ringin', price gun slingin', two-kid totin' father in the Hudson Valley. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

All This Difference

I'm awoken by a different kid each day. There are three of them so maybe there's a system in place, maybe there are bribes to get out of it. I'll leave Scott sleeping as he has mid-life insomnia and I'm sure I kicked him once or twice or thirteen times last night, as I have the opposite. Kids will get breakfast; I will get coffee. They will get an episode, I'll start scrolling. None of this is different from before. Without a job, I have no alarm clock, save for the rotating human roosters. Without an eventual place to be, coffee counts adequately as breakfast. But the children—they stay now. The spouse, too. And that (as they say) has made all the difference. I left a job in October one which I had to heal from and grieve for, simultaneously. There was no new one in place; there was only time. So, I used the time like anyone who has too much time: I picked up a planner I'd never write in. I started rearranging furniture in my house, reorganizing closets and drawers and toy bins. I watched a six-episode docuseries on a collegiate cheerleading squad. I read a single book. I sunk deep into my sofa, deeper still in depression. But, each day, from 8:46a.m. through 'til 4:18pm. I was, at the very least, alone. I had a good excuse for every vice. If I organize this house—once and for all—it will never again be a distraction. This docuseries is relevant to my past, and my past surely needs healing. Sofas were meant to sink into; therapy happens here. I had seven hours and thirty-two minutes a day (less chores, and/or errands, and/or what people refer to interchangeably as "life" and "shit") to fix myself so I could move forward. First, I'd freeze, in spring I'd thaw. Spring came and I was told to stay in the place I was working toward leaving. For me, it didn't seem a change from the usual. Wouldn't I still be unemployed? Wouldn't I still have nowhere to be, no time scheduled to be nowhere by? Am I being asked to remain frozen? Last year, we were rendered homeless by a house sale gone sour. Time didn't freeze for us. Though we had no roots, life kept on. There was fear, sure, in the moving parts that we couldn't control (finding a new place, receiving a closing date, and, well, moving), but everyone went to school each day—the teacher/spouse, too. And I went to work. And the calendar alerted our appointments. And we were taken in by friends. And we had a plan. And we had a basic understanding that even amongst all this difference we were four walls away from our normalcy. I see no normalcy now—even within these four walls. At our home, a stay-in-place looks like Scott overhauling the way he teaches science. It also looks like he and his colleagues holding multiple meetings having much more to do with mental health than curriculum. It looks like playing cards and doing puzzles for the first four days until it devolves into fighting. There is constant fighting. It looks like our four-year-old holding playdates on FaceTime and melting down when they end. It looks like another child shattering a mirror and remaining, still, at that level of intensity, as if in a healthy steady-state. It looks like deep grieving. It doesn't look like a full calendar, or a plan, or staying with friends, or going to work or school or anywhere, for that matter. And I fear this is the difference I'm not so good at. Not desert-island-stranded good, anyway. The hurry is what rooted me when we were rootless. Doesn't routine root everyone? Though I won't spoil the ending for you, routine can't even root the Navarro College Bulldogs. There's a new projection written each day on when this will end. There are new ideas reported on cures and causes, too. There are so many fears, some antithetical and simultaneous. There is so much noise and little to no routine. Some people's lives have become exponentially more dangerous than others, than before. Everything has changed for everyone. My kids, the spouse, they're home now. I'm finding comfort in, at the very least, not being alone. Maybe we are all learning how not-alone we are. I wonder if we can root ourselves in all this change, all this difference, together. Heather Hope Dell'Amore is a freelance writer, aspiring comedian, and ex-cheerleader (though not collegiately) luckily living through this in the therapeutic Hudson Valley. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Every Scrap of It

The lamp post on my street finally flickered on as I'm confronted with stacks of ketchup packets, over 15 different salad dressings, a rogue expired yogurt, four different half used bags of frozen peas, and an anxious heart. All my food from my fridge and freezer was sprawled out on my kitchen counter, sweating in condensation. Relatable. Life was going as usual, but an impending storm was on the horizon. It was as if I was being force-fed news through a tube, 24/7, by every refresh on Twitter. The air was stale and I could feel the storm getting closer. It was early March. Quarantine hadn't happened yet. Business shutdown hadn't happened yet. I was still going into work, perusing the grocery store, stopping at Stewart's to get an ice cream cone, and planning my weekend brunch.  With apocalypse on the brain, I decided a late-night organization session of all the food in my tiny studio apartment was necessary. As I pulled out items I had forgotten about or had expired, I was met with deep guilt. I was reminded of the privilege to have food, money to splurge on that expensive pure maple syrup, and never in my life had I been worried about if I could afford to eat. Ashamed of the food I had let go to waste, I picked up a sad bag of wrinkly grapes that were jammed in the back of my fridge, just waiting to be thrown away. Jammed. Jam? Is it that simple? I threw the grapes in a pot with some sugar. With a hot flame and a couple of minutes, each shriveled fruit had its 15 seconds of fame, bursting at the seams only to join the growing pool of deep moody purple lava. Thick like molasses, I spooned it into jars. As the weeks progressed, the earth stood still, and my time in my apartment outweighed my trips to the grocery store, I began to think more about my food.  More than just up cycling my food but could I make my food regenerative? I started simple with hacks I saw on Facebook. Skeptical, I placed the cut-up end of a romaine heart into a shallow cup of water and waited. Overnight my little food scraps grew. Every morning they appeared taller and taller, leaning a little more towards the window as if they wanted to break out. I would join them with my morning coffee thinking familiar thoughts. The need for new growth fueled my creativity, as space on my windowsill dwindled. Glasses of water that housed a sprouting avocado seed, rejuvenated parsley, and spring onions that never ended, gave me some sense of control. I called my mom in excitement when I got my first sprout from some slices of tomato I planted in some dirt. Each day seemed like a new venture. Sell by date milk turned into creamy greek yogurt which turned into whey that was used to feed my plants. Stale bread became croutons as monster-eyed potatoes and a little bit of flour became pierogis that tasted like home. The more I created, the more I felt like I was doing something purposeful. It felt like I was more than just surviving, I was growing.  Day 20 and my avocado seed finally sprouted a little root. I may not have written a world changing novel, learned how to do a yoga handstand, taken up painting, or developed chiseled abs, but I did get out of bed today and remembered to water my little scrap garden. That might be enough for me right now. I see my tomato sprouts grew a little higher today. They must be watching spring bloom outside. Maybe it's a sign of change, but for now it's just me and the scraps. Molly Gamache is a local video editor and part-time food blogger residing in Beacon. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Insomnia

It could be worse. I could be 17 and quarantined with my two younger siblings, my parents, and my grandmother. Like my oldest daughter, Z. She sleeps all day and stays up all night. When she goes outside, I ask if she has her mask. On the twenty-third day of quarantine, we decide to go for a bike ride on the rail trail. Z was up last night, opening and closing the bedroom door. Maybe she's getting lonely or depressed. I wake her up twice because the first time doesn't take. I tell her she should come; it'll be fun. I give her an hour to get ready. We tie bandanas and scarves (her brother, a tiger hat) around our faces. Z puts on headphones and cycles away. When we stop on a bench for a snack, I text Z to meet us. "I was just riding and listening to music; it was so nice," she sighs. "You see?" I say, "We all just needed to get out." "Did you stay awake all night again?" her little sister asks. "I can't say anything without everyone attacking me." Sometimes Z comes to dinner angry. Sometimes she's smiles generously at her siblings and suffers patiently through her dad's jokes. Sometimes after everyone has left the table, Z tells me about her friends and her problems and her dreams. Z was the friendliest baby. Her first word was "Hi." We debated having more children. Z's dad is one of 11. He grew up with 13 people in a three-bedroom house. He wanted Z to travel and to play an instrument and take an unpaid internship. A working-class man's dreams for his daughter. I just wanted Z to stay confident and unafraid. But junior year has been tough, even before school was canceled. We started to tour colleges early, this past January. I thought it would give her some perspective for the remainder of 11th grade. One day, Z comes into the living room after going out with her friends for a walk, which was really a drive in one friend's car. "Are you going to cyberbully me if I post a photo on my Insta of me and Mo hugging?" she asks. I look at her. "I'm just kidding. But can I post a pic of me and Mo hugging?" "Someone will report you," I say. "They're looking for young people who aren't social distancing." Last fall, Z and I went to the climate strike in New York City. The speakers asked what kind of future could there be in a racist, homophobic, capitalistic patriarchy bent on ruining the planet? The phrase that stuck with Z was when Kevin Patel, an activist from LA said, "We will not be the last generation." Z fast-forwarded 50 years and wondered if that would prove true. I could blame the Boomers for leaving their grandchildren a worse world, but it's the fault of everyone who participates in the way things are. I wanted Z to have siblings so she wouldn't be alone. Z goes to a Zoom movie watch party in her room. We hear her laughter as we get ready for bed. 102 years ago, Z's great-grandmother was born during the Spanish flu. She was 11 when the stock market crashed, initiating the Great Depression. Just before she was lost to dementia, she watched through her apartment window as thousands of people fled the Twin Towers by foot over the 59th Street Bridge. I stayed up all night when I was 17, too. I would stuff eight kids into my Subaru hatchback. We'd hide in the parks, then sneak home at four am. I would have had no trouble climbing down Z's balcony. But Z hasn't tried to escape; she thinks there's nowhere to go. "There's a meme going around," I tell Z one day. "The pandemic is a movie and we're all just waiting for a 17-year-old girl to come and save us!" Z laughs. "Oh, sure," she says. "I'll just get my quiver and bow." Everything in my lifetime indicated that toilet paper has always been used and would never be hard to buy. But Z's adulthood begins with a post-apocalypse. Z does not know what it's like to pay off her student loans finally, or to tell her friends that she's having her third baby. While my quarantine has been about loss, her quarantine is about the way things will never be. Hillary Harvey was Chronogram's Editor-at-Large from 2017-2018 and its Kids & Family Editor from 2015-2017. She lives in Kingston with her college sweetheart and their three muses. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

A Day in the Life Under Quarantine

I wake up. Should I have tea or coffee? Can't make up my mind. Should I have a shower first? Can't make up my mind. Such are the existential dilemmas brought about by life in quarantine. I skip the shower and have tea. Should I take a walk or do yoga? I try not to make plans too far ahead—that's one of the tips they tell us about life in quarantine. Live in the moment. But one does need some form of exercise every day. I roll out my yoga mat. That's enough for now. Baby steps. I remember I have a wife. She is quarantined in a city 120 miles away. I send her a text message. I stare at my phone and await her reply. Such is the drama of life under quarantine. She replies. What she says is personal, so fuck off. I look out my window. A mime is being arrested*. My goodness, they are rounding up the mimes. Who's next, I wonder, the jugglers? Bob Dylan releases a new song. It's 17 minutes long. Perfect timing on his part, since no one has anything else to do now but listen to 17-minute Bob Dylan songs. Time for another cup of tea. Should it be PG Tips, Yorkshire, or loose leaves of Assam? It's so great how even in quarantine one has choices. I choose Assam. "Good choice," I say to myself. I remember I have two children. I call my daughter. She says she's busy having a party with her friends on Zoom and she'll call me back tomorrow. Is that a millennial thing? I don't even know if my daughter is a millennial. Maybe she's a Generation X or Generation Y. Who makes up this shit? I make a video call to my son. We have a father-son book club. Every day we read a chapter of the new book, Hitler's First Hundred Days, and talk about it in a video chat. This was my idea, and he fell for it. Now he can be as obsessed about the parallels between then and now as I am. I look at my yoga mat. It calms me. The Bob Dylan song is about the JFK assassination. I search for a connection between that and our current situation. I can't find one. Wait. Yes. I have it. Kennedy did not want to die but he was killed. We do not want to die but we might be killed by the novel coronavirus. Now I get it. Brilliant. Epic genius, that Dylan. I send a text message to my wife letting her know what the Bob Dylan song means. She doesn't reply. Coffee time. My choices of method are automatic drip, pour-over, French press, or Moka pot. I choose tea. The sun is shining, and the temperature is in the high 60s. It's the kind of day that draws everyone outside. Everyone but me. I know that everyone is going to be outside, which means it's not safe out there. I stay inside where it's safe. Maybe I'll have a lie-down instead of a walk. I look at the calendar and see that today is our second wedding anniversary. I call my wife to wish her a happy anniversary. "Remember Rome?" I ask rhetorically. "Remember when Jemma disappeared?" I ask not rhetorically. I look at the New York Times online. Boris Johnson is in intensive care because of the virus. You know as well as I do what we are all thinking. I stop thinking that and instead I think, well, there's a Brexit for you. I look out the window. Only about half the people are wearing masks. Maybe the others do not keep up with the news. Not everyone is a news junkie, I remind myself. I often wish I weren't one. But whenever my mind goes there, I remind myself how important it is to stay well-informed. But in the end, is it really? You know the old saw. It's 4pm, which means it's time to start thinking about what to make for dinner. I have no fresh vegetables left. I haven't set foot in a store in three weeks. That's the only reason I am still alive. I finally break into my stash of frozen vegetables. I have pouches of mixed vegetables, broccoli florets, and green beans. I choose mixed vegetables. Go big or go home. It's 4:05pm. Too early to start cooking dinner. I put the mixed vegetables back in the freezer. It's too late for a cup of coffee. If I have one now, it will keep me up all night. I have another cup of tea. I lie down on my yoga mat. I close my eyes. My mind drifts. Maybe, I think, I should write a brief essay about a day in the life during quarantine. Instead, I play Bob Dylan's new song again. Wow, that's a long song, I think. But I've got time for that now. Seth Rogovoy is a writer in Hudson. *This really happened. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Closing Time

It's a few minutes before six, the new early closing time at my local market. The lines are not long. Everyone knows by now not to go to shopping late, when everything's picked over and the air is filled with other people's exhalations. There's only one woman ahead of me. She's packing her groceries so slowly that I'm sure my face shows what begins as frustration and quickly intensifies into anxiety. The more time I'm here, the more risk I'm in. I have never been good at controlling my face. A favorite college professor once told me my stern expression intimidated my classmates so much they reported it to her. I'm wary of this now because checkout lines are the new judgement gates. They expose the toilet paper-hoarding sinners and the hedonists indulging in high-end treats, as they illuminate the saintly cashiers who risk their lives for pittance wages. I'm not sure what circle of hell my jittery impatience puts me in, but I do have a four-pack of West Kill Pale Ale in my basket so I'm already a marked woman. I think of the yoga class I used to go to and try to make my face soften. I start to put my groceries on the belt, then stop myself because the woman still hasn't paid, and I have to keep my distance. She hesitates at the credit card machine. "What's the round up charity this month?" she asks, as if closing time and the virus weren't upon us. I flush hot. She's lingering on purpose! Haughty words for She Who Tarries lodge in my throat.  The cashier is patient and tells the woman the money goes to educate children with autism spectrum disorder. "That's good," the woman says. The cashier announces the rounded-up figure. The woman fumbles in her purse and pulls out a large wallet, which requires more fumbling. She carefully counts out twenties and hands them to the cashier. I realize that there is a very good chance that this may be the only time this week —this month?—when this woman is not alone. She's clinging to her moment, lingering in the spotlight of the cashier's attention, and mine.  With effort, she lifts her groceries into her cart. She's packed her reusable thermal bags tightly. In another time, a bagger would step in to expedite the line, thinking nothing about grabbing the handles of her bags and hoisting them in her shopping cart. Now, it's all up to her. Lisa A. Phillips, author of Unrequited: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Romantic Obsession, is the chair of the Digital Media and Journalism Department at SUNY New Paltz, but has the soul of a troubadour. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Essential Service

I don't think I'm so original as I once was. Or maybe I never really was, only tried to be. Now it just seems to matter less. Maybe because I've been reading Grace Paley. She writes lines like, In memory of him and out of respect for mankind, I decided to live for love. I decided to buy a hammock, one of those parachute eyesores that sag between trees. I knew I had to after seeing a guy strap up in one behind my damp square of bedsheet. He was gone in no time at all, disappeared into cocoon-oblivion between the oaks. It struck me as the self-quarantine holy grail, a most essential service. So I ordered one soon as I got home, itching at ant bites around my ankles. A couple days later, I'm swinging in suspended bliss. There are some birds that hang out near the railway tracks. They talk to each other, call and response. Birds are known to sing. But these two are old pals, kibitzing like Brooklynites in a Grace Paley kitchen scene. By 4pm the April sun's about eyeline. The red bandana I wore as a mask to the post office, like some accomplice in a hipster stick-up, slips easily over head—a protective impulse that feels suddenly old fashioned. I flay my book out across my chest and lie there legs askew, skin full of heat. It smells like baking. The birds talk shop. I think: I have no business being this content. And I think again how that story ends: goodbye and good luck. Jennifer Gutman is a doctoral candidate in English at Vanderbilt University and a former assistant editor at Chronogram. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Brushing and Flossing Daily

Of course, it started on Friday the 13th. I awoke to a series of missed calls and endless group texts from my colleagues and within the course of a few hours, I went from working 12 hour days to unemployed for the unforeseeable future. As did many, I went to the grocery store to stock up but the aisles were packed with crazed, angry shoppers and the shelves were bare. I got home with a few cans of soup and had a meltdown. I can't recall ever feeling so alone or hopeless and it happened within 4 hours. And it was bad. The kind of bad that resulted in family members vowing to never speak to each other again and subsequently rejecting my pleas to come home for a while and eat their food. How was I going to function with no food and no income? I slowly emerged from the initial shock after a few days with the help of my friends, but then what? My job entails home visits and interaction with people as I specialize in human communication and that includes close contact with many people in a variety of settings. Now my days are spent attempting to provide services through teleconferencing, but ultimately, I'm alone in 700 square feet. I miss hugging friends and petting random dogs on walks. Panic often sets in after one too many gins. Prior to the pandemic, I was drowning in student and medical debt. With two more jobs set to start in April, the goal was to work as many hours as I could to dig myself out of the hole. However, I knew the threat of the shutdown was looming back in February, so I was already feeling a higher level of anxiety, knowing that my income would most likely abruptly stop and that $485/week of unemployment wouldn't even be enough to cover rent. And I hate to say that I was right, but I'm kind of always right about these things. Not that I win any points for that now. My great backup plan has always been to marry a wealthy older man and lounge on his yacht with a martini somewhere in the Caribbean. That goal is impossibly unattainable. Online dating during a lockdown seems futile. When is it going to be safe to physically meet? And have you ever had to help an elderly relative set up a video chat while not in the same room? Now try finding a rich, (relatively) healthy elderly man who's proficient at Zoom. That might be a full-time job in itself and frankly, I'm too tired of doing mostly nothing all day to even try. Since March, I've not become an expert baker. I've not cleaned my entire apartment. I'm not writing an epic novel. I'm not taking countless online courses to better myself through exploring meditation and wellness. I'm not plotting my great reinvention for when this nightmare ever ends, because that's frankly what rich people do when they don't spend all day panicking over how to buy toilet paper. What I am doing is reaching out to people I care about and then getting pissed off when they don't return a text message. I'm brushing and flossing daily. I'm keeping at least six feet away from people when I am outside and still waving and smiling as I pass people, because I still believe in etiquette. I'm trying to keep my head out of my ass and not become so selfish that I won't be able to relate to humans if and when this does end. When I moved to the Hudson Valley, it was the first time I'd lived alone in my entire life. I relished not having to share a space with randoms I found on Craigslist and being able to leave my dishes in the sink. Living alone brought a sense of calm. I didn't wake to my roommate playing the guitar at 3am or run into strangers emerging from the bathroom when I had to get ready for work. But I can hear my mother saying, "You got what you wished for. Now you're alone forever." I can't help but let that anxiety and paranoia creep in. Am I not cheerful enough and optimistic when I chat with friends? Will anyone want to physically see me ever again? Am I a failure at this whole pandemicking? And yes, I made up a new word. At least I've accomplished something for today. Inga Hyatt is a (sometimes) actress/filmmaker/speech language pathologist who now spends the majority of her day developing meaningful communication with the woodland creatures that visit her windowsill bird feeder. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

My Seder

There was relief in not having to fight the traffic to get to my aunt's house in Staten Island for Passover. As Brooklyn natives (neither of whom still live in Brooklyn;) why she ever moved to that unspeakable borough is one of the many perennial topics of discussion I could have expected to have with my cousin Leslie, had we all met there, as we do every year. The house would have been crowded and noisy with familiar people and yet another new puppy (to which I am allergic.) My aunt's home is filled with her impressive artwork and an excess of cut glass that rings a bit as many come in, first walking through the kitchen to give kisses hello, and then into the dining room to visit, and perhaps help set the table. My mother would have opened the wine immediately upon her arrival. There would be the sound of the gold and crimson-edged china being taken from its protective covering and placed in a stack on the hand-stitched tablecloth and the sound of clattering silver coming out of the case it lives in, in large clumps. My sister would be deciding on the right order to put the silver in around each plate. The living room would already be full of people, and more would arrive. Eventually we'd assemble around the beautifully laid table to start our Seder. It would be raucous, as we went around the circle, taking turns reading the familiar text with energy. Contentious, as we wrestled with the implicit patriarchy in the language of the Maxwell House Haggadah; some changing God to Goddess and he to she and they—to the irritation of the more traditional among us. We would make much of the math of Adonai's fingers at sea, and have a great time with the Plagues, and the singing of Dayeinu. My heart would stop as ever as, with our glasses raised we read: "For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation, there are those who rise against us" and we put those glasses back down, untasted. I would have spent this night, both the same and different from other nights, at my mother's and spent the next day with her too, (at wracking labor), cooking and preparing to do it all again at her place the second night. But this year, pestilence. As I walked the circle of my driveway, the day before Passover, in the early morning quiet, reminding myself to count my many blessings, I looked at the spring greens and bitter herbs coming up in my yard. And I remembered the Seder plate I've never used, that once was Tracy's mom's. I thought about what was in the fridge and pantry and realized I could do this.   I could make my own Seder. And so I did. I became very busy! I researched Haggadahs online. I engaged with the texts, thought about what they said, looked things up. I worked on my Seder plate, chopped apples, pecans, and dates for charoset, and walked around the yard, picking spring greens and bitter herbs. This part was really fun. I rendered chicken fat and made kneidel with matzoh meal left over from last year. They came out so good I was annoyed I couldn't enter them into the "who makes the best kneidel?" family discussion. (Not that I would have won, ever, no matter how good they were.) Near sunset on the first night, with the promise of wine, I convinced my not-so-willing and not at all Jewish significant other to sit down with me. We performed the rituals and I read the story of Passover aloud to him. He repeated the Four Questions after me. He toasted Cthulhu, he complained and he heckled, and he did an amazing impression of the Simple Child. And somehow it was very right. Next Year in Staten Island! Laura Rose is a retired teacher and the broker at Laura Rose Real Estate, in Gardiner. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

The Full-Time Quarantine

Amidst boastful homeschooling parents and social media broadcasts of hikes and outdoor adventures, I reflect upon the sobering reality of what my week looks like and I feel ashamed of its stark comparison. Monday through Friday I hide from my children behind a computer screen and then I race to make up for such actions by feverishly cleaning my kitchen and squeezing in condensed school lessons Saturday and Sunday. Of course, I'm grateful to still have a job during this disaster, but a job during a disaster is not a job during normal times, just as a day working from home isn't that same in such a crisis. Some days, the guilt I feel over the self-perceived neglect of my children weighs so heavily over my shoulders I feel it push me down like a weight. My husband, an essential worker, goes to brave the masses every day, so I wake up at 4 am to get a head start on the endless race against the clock and the race against my children's list of needs. I encourage myself to push through the afternoon hours when fatigue sets in- almost there, almost there. Every hour is a step closer, but a step closer to exactly what isn't clear. A step closer to another day? As this new reality began to unfold, I had intentions of rekindling old friendships, writing letters, calling my grandparents more regularly. Where did those intentions go? I was uncharacteristically unprepared for how fast the minutes and the chances would slip through my fingers. While days are challenging, light always breaks through the cracks. The sun still rises in the morning where it always has, the birds still sing with the same tune they used to. My children don't understand "pandemic", they still smile when they wake up in the morning, still play and dance with the same passion as before.  My mother and I made a promise on the first day of endless quarantine to share four pieces of gratitude every day. The first month has finally passed, I'm proud to say we are still going strong. While each and every thought of gratitude shared has been beautiful, a few favorites stand out. Friday, March 20: The feeling of doing things with awareness and purpose, to not be mindless, but to at least have an intention, no matter how it all turns out. Yesterday I found myself considering how much cream to put in my coffee, being so grateful to have it. Tuesday, March 24: How my husband interacts with our children. I'm sure I take that for granted. It means the world to me. I was listening to him talk to them in the other room this morning and I don't know if I ever stopped to really appreciate that. Friday, March 27: I'm feeling really grateful for my cat's health. I've never really loved cats, but she brings a lot of joy to the family, and a vet bill would really be a drag right now. Sunday, March 29: People who smile (at a safe distance). I swear there is something in that that acknowledges a unity among absolutely everyone, and it is so palpable, so comforting. Monday, April 6: Feeling at a greater place of acceptance and trust in my life that all things work together for good, but I have to let the birthing process happen. Sometimes I just need to step back and let things be. I am not orchestrating the greatest at-home science projects of all time, I am not hiking a different state park every morning. The sink is full of dishes, the kids have been eating more snacks than vegetables, and occasionally I have to step out to sneak a cigarette and catch my breath. This is reality when you're living through a disaster. As the sun washes over the plates, crumbs, and juice boxes left over from the night before, I close my laptop and my eyes, for just a moment, and I am grateful. I am so grateful.  Nicole Clanahan is a woman learning to appreciate the finer things in life—gratitude exchanges, messy kitchens, and sneaking cigarettes. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Above the Funeral Home

Since being directed to shelter in place on March 16, I am mostly home alone. Home just happens to be an apartment on the top floor of a funeral home. The chapels are on the main floor, and the office is on the second floor, just on the other side of my bedroom wall. It's been a calm winter. If there are no services, there's usually no one around, and I have the building to myself. My first two weeks home were really quiet. I actually wondered if they were going to reduce operating hours because the funeral home owner and the funeral director were hardly ever here. When I'm in my bedroom, I sometimes hear noises on the other side of the wall coming from the office. I can hear the phone ring and the muffled voices of the staff when they take a call or speak to each other. Once the Covid 19 numbers started to climb, the phone began to ring more, the staff was spending more time here, and I started to realize that my home sanctuary was anything but. Now, the phone's constant ringing and the muffled voices on the other side have become my morning alarm clock. From my bedroom window, I watch the endless activity. The funeral home owner and funeral director are often covered from head-to-toe in blue protective gear. I see a family coming to make arrangements for a loved one who has passed. I watch a truck pull in to drop-off a casket. I spy the owner and the livery driver speaking to each other from six feet away. And often, late at night, I am startled by the sounds of heavy doors' slamming as bodies are brought in from a hospital mortuary. When I head downstairs to retrieve my mail, and I run into the owner or director, they tell me how difficult it has been. Of course, they are mostly getting Covid 19 calls, and the primary question is always "cause of death?" because the procedures are different. Covid 19 victims cannot be embalmed. No one wants to take a chance because no one knows for sure what we are dealing with. So, bodies are either directly buried or cremated, but the crematoriums are backed up. Sometimes they have to be at a cemetery at a specific early hour. If they are not, they'll be shut out for the day. The funeral home owner just hopes he doesn't have need for the refrigerated truck he has on hold. Marilyn D. is a veteran media professional who often sidelines as a clown in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

A New Day

Just after waking at dawn I was inspired to begin my day by replanting my begonia cuttings back into their old/new home of soil in the pot which has been waiting for them to return. For months, theirs had been an altered, wet reality, reincarnating by sprouting new roots in small perfume bottles and glasses of water. Striving to be strong enough to be reborn. They should have been re-planted back into their previous life weeks ago, but I couldn't face them. I just couldn't garner the gardener within I needed to facilitate their rebirth, despite the joy I've felt rebirthing hundreds of cuttings from water over decades. I'd been living a new life myself, but its facets didn't include the mama gardener in me. I was too busy reading and educating myself about the pandemic and the asinine words, acts and non-acts coming from the asinine person who lives in the White House. But last night I learned my younger sister was able to say a few words from the ICU and today I felt my reality alter yet again, and the gardener within me reborn.  Being newly awoken from her 14-day intubated, induced coma, she had begun working with a speech therapist and yesterday a nurse held a phone to my sister's face in the Covid-19 ward in Richmond, VA (where she'd been air-lifted to three weeks ago from her local ER because the hospitals in her DC suburb were all full), and she was able to say "I love you" to her husband. My sister the Barbie Doll Dream House inheritor, pink/orange/gold bedroom sharer, mother to twin teenaged son and daughter (and two dogs).  My sister the loving, sensitive, compassionate, kids school volunteer, crafty (as in art), Obama "Hope" symbol pumpkin carver, Halloween grey wigged bespeckled Harry Potter wizard, and gardener extraordinaire; is awake, cognizant, and relearning how to talk after having a tube down her throat for days. We almost lost her. It's a new day. When the ambulance took her to the original ER and her kids and husband couldn't accompany her (no families allowed to join patients in our new paradigm), her husband told their kids who were in despair, "Mom won't die, she's too stubborn." She's back in her local hospital now, where she will remain for 2 months. There are no guidelines yet for recovery from this easily inhaled molecule. We are the ones we've been waiting for to invent those. The soon-to-be released yellow plasma test the gold ring for ending the pandemic, clarifying whether we've had COVID, or the flu this winter. So we cultivate hope, remembering we susceptible humans are also the ones who invented the machines which allow women and men to live in space for a year, cause audiences to be astounded by great dancing and moved to both delight and tears by great music. And we are the ones who invented cures for other diseases, but those were mostly done in laboratories over long lengths of time. This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around. No time for dancing, or lovey dovey. (We) ain't got time for that now. So it is the stories of those stricken and recovered who will be delineating our new health paradigm. Maybe one in which our bodies adapt to living with some form of COVID, (By our hand? By CRISPR manipulation?) To a new paradigm of understanding the molecular world of viruses that jump species. And to infected, yet strong, stubborn sisters around the world. Especially the younger ones. Maya Horowitz is a modern dance historian and holistic health researcher living in Woodstock. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

Trapped

My husband usually spends a third of his time in New York City, visiting his father, who is 101. I enjoy his company when he returns, but my hermit tendencies make me relish having the house to myself for a week at a time. Therefore, we were apprehensive about being cooped up together in quarantine, but it was going fine. We were cooking together, watching movies online, taking nature walks in which I taught him bits of plant lore from my past life as an herbalist and forager. I felt we were lucky to have each other's company when so many people were having to live alone. It took a few weeks for our peaceful coexistence to unravel. I was growing weary of fixing his daily computer crisis. I was ready to explode if he asked me again to set the timer for cooking the rice, a measure designed to avoid aggravating his carpal tunnel issue. When he wasn't trying to tell me about the latest Twitter meme, he was walking around the house, shouting into the phone. Finally, I said, "If only you could go to the city for a few days." He was hurt. We had to have a long conversation, in which I apologized for not keeping up with my irritation, for being in denial about the discomforts of quarantine. "I'm sure if I expressed my frustrations on the spot, I wouldn't sound so aggressive when I ask you to live in the garage. I'd be gentler when I tell you to go build a doghouse in the yard and—" I am not known for my sense of humor, but at this point, I began laughing so hard, I couldn't finish the sentence. Luckily, he took it the right way, and we both laughed helplessly as I added, "No, maybe I'll move under the bed. I can take a flashlight—no, I'll use my iPhone. I can plug it in right at the head of the bed. Or I could live in the crawlspace under the house. It's nice and warm down there. Or I could send you out to live in the woods, now that I've taught you the wild edibles." The rest of our day went just great. We took a walk under tall, silent pine trees, and then had a cozy session watching back-to-back episodes of an Icelandic TV murder mystery. It's called "Trapped." Violet Snow has been published in the New York Times "Disunion" blog, Civil War Times, Woodstock Times, American Ancestors, Otter Magazine, and many other periodicals. ...

Tags: COVID-19 Stories

A Better New Normal

Amidst the human and economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, an opportunity emerges to re-examine what we value as a society. The pandemic offers an inflection point to rethink the strategies for coping with the pressing problems of the day, from our inadequate healthcare system to economic inequality to climate change to election reform and more. In this time of crisis, there is an opportunity to create a more compassionate and resilient future, a better new normal. For the July issue of Chronogram, a section featuring short essays, articles, and interviews with regional and national thought leaders on the opportunity the coronavirus pandemic offers for societal transformation....

Tags: The Future Is Now

Kingston Salon Le Shag Innovates with Contact-Free COVID-19 Offerings

A touch of extraordinary circumstances and a sprinkling of entrepreneurial innovation are getting Le Shag Beauty and Boutique through COVID-19. After shutting down operations on March 19, Le Shag transitioned into offering at home coloring kits and glazes to offer their clients a bit of beauty pick-me-up during quarantine.

Tags: Beauty & Fashion

Foraging for Spring Wild Edibles with Dina Falconi

Supplement Your Farmed Veggies with These Wild Edibles You Can Forage in Spring
Clinical herbalist and author of Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Cookbook, Dina Falconi shares some great wild edibles to find in April.

Tags: Outdoors

Path to the Future: Ashokan Rail Trail

The Ashokan Rail Trail is the region’s latest linear park transformation, 11.5 miles of previsouly inaccessible path along the Ashokan Reservoir.

Tags: Outdoors

Upward Bound: The Resilience of Local Bookstores

Even in the Internet-Era, Independent Hudson Valley Bookstores Thrive
According to a February 2020 Forbes article, the American Booksellers Association has seen a 49-percent leap in its membership in the past decade. As of early March, local bookstores were on the rise.

Tags: Art of Business

Quarantine Sounds Better On Vinyl

Hudson Valley Record Store Owners Recommend 6 Records to Listen to While Stuck at Home
We reached out to Hudson Valley record store owners for their current favorite vinyls to shack up with during these socially distancing days.

Tags: Music

Social Distancing on Overcrowded Trails

As people wander through nature to breathe in fresh air during a national crisis, some trails and preserves have closed temporarily because of overcrowding.

Tags: Outdoors

Trail Etiquette in the Age of COVID-19

More people than ever are using the parks and trail systems across the nation, with overcrowding even forcing some parks to close. Aside from following social distancing practices and staying at least six feet away from other hikers, standard trail etiquette is more important than ever now so that we can all cooperatively steward our natural resources.

Tags: Outdoors

7 Ways to Get Out of the House While Maintaining Social Distance

However you decide to spend your indeterminately long reprieve from society, there may be no better mental health booster than getting outdoors. If we can’t get back to reality we can at least get back to nature. Here are 7 social distancing-compliant outdoor activities you can do in the Hudson Valley to get you out of the house and stop you from going stir-crazy.

Tags: General Arts & Culture

Hudson Valley Shops With Online Stores

As COVID-19 Rocks Our Local Economy, Support These Small Businesses by Shopping Online
It's never easy owning a small business—margins are always tight even in the best of times. With coronavirus outbreak in New York State, many small businesses have been forced to close down their brick-and-mortar locations to support preventative measures, but many of them have taken to the internet to keep providing you with the products you love—from artisan home goods to flowers to soaps and candy. Help these Hudson Valley businesses stay open through the COVID-19 pandemic by shopping online.

Tags: Shopping

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Covid 19 Free Legal Clinic @

Covid 19 Free Legal Clinic

May 22-31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. — Covid 19 Free Legal Clinics of the Berkshire Center for Justice are...
Live-streamed Lunchtime Meditation - Finding Peace at Home @ Kadampa Meditation Center New York

Live-streamed Lunchtime Meditation - Finding Peace at Home

Tuesdays, 12:30-1 p.m. Continues through May 26 — Take 30 minutes in the middle of the day to connect to...

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