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As a rising senior, the thought of graduating and starting my life again is beginning to creep up on me. A vast majority of teenagers around the country have likely limited their social activity during the past fifteen months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and many of them, including myself, are yearning for a smooth transition to in-person learning during the upcoming school year starting this fall.
During this era of remote learning (for many of us) and social isolation, I have reflected on some restaurants and attractions that I would like to visit now that New York City is opening back up. I have missed the train rides with my friends and the stops we would make at food trucks and cafes before we got home. I miss the naps on Vallo and when making my bucket list with my friends, I thought that I should ‘go big or go home!’
My friend Subah Mehrin ’22 and I drafted a bucket list filled with bookstores, libraries, restaurants, and attractions to visit in New York City before we graduate in June 2022. Our list of cafes is the most extensive, and we have some local and well-known cafes on our list. Some of these cafes include Topos Bookstore Cafe in Ridgewood, and Cafe de Cupping in Flushing.
“I wanted to find places that would bring back feelings of being in-person,” Mehrin reflected. “For example, we chose a lot of cafes and bookstores because I really wanted to recreate the Bronx Science library experience.”
During the Coronavirus pandemic, my friends and I have tried to replace our usually fun gatherings with study sessions and movie nights over Zoom. We soon found that it became repetitive, and we have been searching for things that we can do and see in the city, together in-person. Mehrin reflected on her experiences of isolation over the past fifteen months and her desire to now make new plans. “I don’t think we would have made a bucket list if we weren’t so isolated,” she said. “It was only because we were isolated and we realized that we missed out on doing so much that we created a bucket list in the first place. I felt that when we regularly saw each other in person, we just fell into the flow of life and took many things for granted.”
Kamar Fuquar ’22 also reflected on his pandemic experience as he plans for the future. “Post-isolation, I want to explore restaurants,” Fuquar said. “There are so many places in the city that have always been here that I’ve never been to. My bucket list has only expanded since quarantine started, because I was able to look into all these new places. If we didn’t have to be socially isolated, I wouldn’t have had a bucket list in the first place. Social isolation has taught me that some people are really special, and that I need to hold on to them.”
On social media, I see so many more friend groups meeting up and hanging out in various New York City parks and restaurants, now that the rate of COVID-19 cases has plummeted in New York City thanks to the vaccine rollout. As students, we have worked so hard to keep up with virtual learning and our respective schedules over the past fifteen months of remote learning for many of us. It is important to recognize this and to treat ourselves with new experiences as the city continues to open back up.
“I don’t think we would have made a bucket list if we weren’t so isolated,” Subah Mehrin ’22 said. “It was only because we were isolated and we realized that we missed out on doing so much that we created a bucket list in the first place. I felt that when we regularly saw each other in person, we just fell into the flow of life and took many things for granted.”