Covid Times in Brooklyn

Somehow, the days are both too long and too short. Time stretches ahead, the calendar blank. Yet you go out for a walk and before you know it, the sky is dark.

I came back to Brooklyn from the East End of Long Island in early November. I cruised into my neighborhood on a Saturday night when the mood was briefly celebratory, following the announcement of the election results, when the pandemic didn’t seem as dire as now.

I’m being strict and cautious, mostly solitary, seeing friends only outdoors. I go to the supermarket and drug store, infrequently. I do laundry when I run out of sweatpants and pajamas. My only nod to fashion is trying to match my mask to my outfit. I’ve been to Manhattan once in two months.

Do I sound like I’m complaining? I’m not complaining. I’m healthy, and so are my nearest and dearest, though I see them mostly on Zoom. I live in comfort. I’m enjoying my apartment in new ways. Paying more attention to my houseplants. Using my landlords’ backyard compost bin. Taking baths. Winnowing my bookshelves. Setting up a TV, finally.

And taking advantage of three great nearby parks — Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. As are others. I learned on a recent walk around “hidden” Prospect Park with Turnstile Tours that it saw twice as many visitors in 2020 as the year before.

It’s been relatively mild so far this winter, with only one significant snow that didn’t last long. The outdoor dining scene seems surprisingly robust, sidewalk tables occupied by diners hardier than I.

I cook at home instead: farro with mushrooms, white bean stew with fennel and radiccio, marinated greens, omelets, soups that go into the freezer labeled “Weird Minestrone,” “Root Veg Soup (needs salt).”

And I walk a lot, aiming for those elusive 10,000 steps, and take pictures.

And once in a while, I feel a blog post coming on. Not as many of you read this sporadic effort as used to, but if you are still on my list, please let me hear from you in the comments. Where are you and how are you doing? Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about (not politics) when this mysterious blogging urge comes upon me? Are we still interested in old houses, interiors, historic preservation, gardens, travel (with an eye to the future)?

Happy new year, friends.

31 thoughts on “Covid Times in Brooklyn

  1. Thank you for your post. From Philadeplhia with occasionally visits to Brooklyn, I love reading about and seeing your take on the world. I would love to hear more about life in NYC and really anywhere during the pandemic. It is great to hear from others.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. So nice to hear from you, Catherine, and find out what interests you. Thanks for taking the time. It’s encouraging!

  3. More travel. Miss that the most (and people of course). It’s comforting to know that it will be there when everything rights itself

  4. Hello Cara, I live in Brussels … and I am claustrophobic: I never take a plane and only travel by train. It is therefore highly unlikely that I will ever visit New York. But despite everything I travel a lot thanks to movies and photos like yours. They are beautiful and the atmosphere that emerges is fantastic. So yes, I want many more like these! I also very much like your posts about houses and architecture: at the beginning, that’s why I subscribed to your blog. Please carry on. And thank you!

  5. So great to hear from a reader of whom I was unaware! Thank you, Doris from Brussels (the first European city I ever visited at age 16 and have vivid memories of but haven’t managed to return to). Thanks so much for letting me know you appreciate my efforts.

  6. I see Brooklyn through your blog posts. It’s seems like you are fine and we will get through to the recovery of not this year then soon. Your an inspiration with these posts we learn more about where we stand and where we are going. Thank you

  7. Hi Cara, As a former Brooklynite & now year-round Eastender in Greenport, I enjoy reading your blogs & viewing your photos. I date back to 2011, when you posted the r/e listing of the Victorian house I had just purchased. I’ve followed you ever since. So, needless to say, I’m an architecture fan. Also have enjoyed the travel pix – near & far. Keep up the good work!! Laura

  8. Your photographs are so beautiful!!! Colorful and amazing compositions. Such a joy to see them this morning, they made me feel happier. Keep on keeping on with your splendid roving eye😍

  9. Beautiful pictures, Cara! I see you walked by my near-neighbor Jenny’s newish café! Love your posts, even if I don’t usually comment. Keep writing!

  10. Hello Cara, I always enjoy your posts (gardens, interiors, travel, anything Casacara)! We are in NW Woods full-time now. Stay well. xo

  11. Hi Cara,

    I still read your blog posts! I love all of your photos and accurate descriptions of Covid life.

    I hope you and your family are well. I miss Brooklyn and visit to take walks sometimes when I need an escape from Connecticut. Our son, James, likes to bring his scooter and barrel down the sidewalks and go visit the “house with the blue door.” We all have fond memories of your home.

    I started a newsletter during quarantine that is mostly recipe sharing and quarantine musings of my own. Here is the link if you would like to sign up:

    Be well, Laura Silverman

    C A S T E L 979 Third Avenue Suite 715 New York, NY 10022 212 758 9900


  12. ah, an old timer! Glad to hear from you, Laura. The blue house with the gambrel roof? Stay tuned for more architecture and travel pics!

  13. I don’t think there have been any studies showing one can contract Covid from a bunch of oregano sniffed by a previous herb shopper, but I guess you never know🙄

  14. Why, thank you, Christine! That appealing café reminds me so much of Mexico City! Thanks for your readership and enthusiasm.

  15. Hi Laura, glad your memories of Verandah Place are fond ones! Appreciate the loyal readership😊 I’ll check out your newsletter. All best!

  16. This is from Harriet, a reader/friend who had trouble signing on and emailed instead. I’m sharing it because I think we all appreciate hearing how others are pleasurably/productively passing the time.

    I have left the island of Manhattan just once in the 10 months, so “traveling” with your photos and “World through a Lens” in the NYTimes have been a gift. Regularly meeting friends and discovering new areas of Central Park have helped, too. I’m trying to have more phone conversations, instead of emails, with friends, too

  17. “Are we still interested in old houses, interiors, historic preservation, gardens, travel (with an eye to the future)?” Yes, all of the above! I always enjoy reading your posts. I like the way you see the world. How are things going with your little hippie house?

  18. Always appreciate your posts and totally can relate on how the days are long but short as well. I’m always interested in old houses. I live in one. However I am very interested in perspective on the new plans of the city to make housing out of vacant hotel and commercial spaces.
    I hate waste and I hate to see empty office buildings but I also can’t help wonder how will that impact the demand and value of traditional living spaces such as old houses where it’s usually one apartment per floor.

  19. Hi grandmasma, thanks for your kind words and feedback. There’s certainly going to be a glut of office space in NYC. It will be interesting to see if they manage to turn some of it into livable housing. My feeling is that old houses have an appeal that modern or new construction can’t compete with, and there will always be those who want them above all else (I am one). And old houses grow ever scarcer, so I still maintain lasting value is there. They keep building glass residential towers here in Brooklyn, but I don’t think that has had impact on the sale or rental value of brownstones. Apples and oranges..

  20. Great photos! I love to read everything you post, and all the topics you mention continue to be of interest.

  21. Following you from Melbourne, Australia ~ I have always enjoyed your posts about architecture, as it’s so interesting to see thru your eyes, the buildings and old houses in places other than my own country. And always interested in gardens and all of the above that you mentioned.
    Stay well & motivated, whilst coping with the covid restrictions.

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