April 9, 2020
The trash one usually finds on a block in my part of Brooklyn consists of cigarette butts, bottles and grocery store receipts. My house, however, happens to be a block away from Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where they are treating covid19 patients. Over the last two weeks, the surge of patients in intensive care has changed the look of the neighborhood, as evident from the trash you see above: medical gloves, face masks. They are everywhere, in the park, in the flowerbeds, on the road.
The Five Guys burger shop closed. It lies directly across from the hospital. The truck bay has two freezer trailers for the dead, and the hospital staff move quickly by, clad in masks. The streets are empty around here, and the lack of traffic noise makes the ambulance sirens sound particularly stark and alarming—a sound I grew deaf to, just a month ago. I used to see them standing outside the doors, smoking casually during their breaks, but there’s nothing casual about anybody’s behavior now.