September 28, 2021 – When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the nation’s largest city in the spring of 2020, New Yorkers flocked to their windows to beat their pots and pans and join health workers and first responders for saving a city Thank you devastated by COVID-19.
But as the pandemic continued and many succumbed to crisis fatigue, the cheering and shouting of health care workers slowed and was replaced by the usual noise of honking cars and chatty pedestrians. But even 18 months later, some believers still greet these heroes, writes Darcie Wilder in this Gawker piece.
This nightly ritual continued throughout the city, including nightly performances of “God Bless America” on the Upper West Side and noisy minutes in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood of New York City that bore much of the brunt of the pandemic. This is also the area where the USNS Comfort ship arrived on the Hudson River and months later the Javits Center opened as a mass vaccination site for residents of the area.
“I think it’s nice and heartwarming that they’re out there every night,” says Aleta LaFargue, an actress who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. “We’re not out of the storm yet and people are still getting sick, so I think it’s really nice that there is this gratitude and a reminder of what is going on out there in the city and in the world.”
Ask Gail Saltz, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the host of the iHeartRadio “How Can I Help?” Podcast and a New Yorker herself.
“If cheering makes you feel like you’re doing something positive in the face of so much helplessness in the pandemic, then yes, that’s healthy for your spirit,” she says. “If cheering is a feeling of gratitude towards the nursing staff and other helpers, then that’s healthy too.”
It also feels good to keep a promise.
“For us in New York City, it’s this idea, ‘OMG, these important workers, the hospitals are full, we can’t repay them for what they did for us,'” said Phil O’Brien, editor and publisher of W42ST , a daily newsletter and a website. “I admire those who have a special purpose to remember when it was so much easier to let life get in the way.”
Given the scary headlines and COVID-19 numbers and statistics, continuing to shout out at 7 p.m. can also be therapeutic.
“The pandemic is ongoing, so it’s still important to do things that will help you feel less anxious, improve your mood, and get support – while also keeping you safe,” Saltz says.
Ultimately, the goal for many New Yorkers is the same: never forget.
“In our culture, it’s easy to experience an atrocity and then, a week later, we’re on to the next thing,” says LaFargue. “This ritual hits you in the head to remind you that this is [isn’t] Above. That has a value. “
WebMD health news
Gawker: “My building, I don’t shit, still makes the 7pm cheers for important workers”
Gail Saltz, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Phil O’Brien, Editor / Editor W42ST
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