The city is woollier than it’s been in a while — everyone seems to be crimping the usual boundaries. E-bikes and scooters zip through the middle of the street, and restaurants have annexed the pavement outside their doors in hopes of keeping their businesses afloat. After a brutal spring and summer of pandemic uncertainty and economic instability, New York is doing its best to pass for its old self, but in truth, things haven’t felt this unsteady since right after 9/11.
In this context, shopping for anything other than essentials has felt foolish verging on irresponsible. I’m still haunted by the last item of discretionary clothing I bought before quarantine — so much so that I won’t share it here. Even now that stores are open, that humble jolt of electricity you feel when touching a new, covetable garment is almost always dampened by the rank sweat gathering beneath your