February in New York City packed a snowy wallop, but we hardy Big Apple types shoveled and sloshed our way through — one major snowstorm early in the month that dropped nearly two feet of the white stuff upon us, another the following week that was less big but still not small, and a few additional dustings and flurries.
I don’t mind being under house arrest in my Brooklyn apartment, which is just as hygge as could be, filled with books yet to be read and an inexhaustible streaming supply of music and movies.
hyg·ge/ HOO-guh A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
I managed to get out for neighborhood rambles, ever mindful of the importance of ultraviolet rays to one’s mood, not to mention a respectable step count in lieu of the gym. I met friends for hot toddies at St. Julivert in Cobble Hill and Lavender Lake, on the shores of the Gowanus Canal, below, and cheered myself up with weekly tulips.
What’s gratifying is that it looks like many of our local restaurants, some of which have invested tens of thousands to build plywood-and-plexiglass structures where coated, hatted, scarved and masked diners huddle under heat lamps even in sub-freezing temps, are going to make it through. The city has announced that the makeshift dining cars will be allowed to stay into the foreseeable future, a distinct and dramatic change to the streetscape.
Toward the end of the month, the worst happened. A dear friend of forty years died unexpectedly, casting everything in sorrow. The world lost an extraordinary soul, loving and clever, an accomplished origami artist and baker whose creations in both areas were works of visual art. She and I were besties when our children were small, pushing strollers together through the streets of Brooklyn Heights. Our families celebrated Chanukah and Halloween together, and camped out at Hither Hills in the summer. We stayed in touch after her family moved away, spending hours on the phone back when you could only stray as far from the device as its curly cord would reach. Our conversations and correspondence were marked by our pleasure in communicating with each other, and her always witty, always honest take on things.
I dedicate this post to Ellen, who was a devoted reader of my blog. After my last post, in January, she emailed to thank me for the “beamish” (bright, cheerful, optimistic) entry, writing “Love seeing your perspective, hearing your voice — missing both Brooklyn and you!” The feeling is forever mutual, my friend <3