“They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway; they say there’s always magic in the air…” —George Benson, American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, singing “On Broadway” (1978) I’ve never been to Broadway. In fact, the only time I visited New York City was back when I was 3 years old and my parents and older brother and I were visiting my aunt and uncle who lived near New York City all those years ago. My younger brother had not been born yet, but he was on his way.
New York City is one of the cities I have listed on my Bucket List (along with Paris, France). However, it isn’t in my immediate plans to visit as COVID-19 has put a significant dent on a whole lot of activities usually in full swing around America right now, including Broadway shows. The latest notice I could find regarding when Broadway might be opening up again is found on Broadway.com:
All New York City Broadway shows have been cancelled through September 6, 2020. Broadway.com customers with individual tickets to cancelled performances have been contacted by email with further details. (Quote source here.)
September 6, 2020, is still four months away as of the writing of this blog post. Still, this COVID-19 pandemic and it’s effects won’t last forever even if it seems like it has been that long already. Nobody knows what our society will look like once it emerges from this pandemic, but at this point 36 million Americans have already been forced out of work and into the unemployment lines. Many businesses have been shut down since the middle of March, and some are slowly starting to reopen under restrictions set in place depending on the state they are located in since the governors of each state are making the decisions regarding their own state.
In an article published on April 27, 2020, in The Atlantic titled, “The Pandemic Will Change American Retail Forever,” by Derek Thompson, staff writer at The Atlantic, he opens his article with the following paragraphs:
Last weekend, I walked a mile along M Street in Washington, D.C., where I live, from the edge of Georgetown to Connecticut Avenue. The roads and sidewalks were pin-drop silent. Movie theaters, salons, fitness centers, and restaurants serving Ethiopian, Japanese, and Indian food were rendered, in eerie sameness, as one long line of darkened windows.
Because the pandemic pauses the present, it forces us to live in the future. The question I asked myself walking east through D.C. is the question so many Americans are all pondering today: Who will emerge intact from the pandemic purgatory, and who will not?
In the past three weeks, I’ve posed a version of that question to more than a dozen business owners, retail analysts, economists, consumer advocates, and commercial-real-estate investors. Their viewpoints coalesce into a coherent, if troubling, story about the future of the American streetscape.
We are entering a new evolutionary stage of retail, in which big companies will get bigger, many mom-and-pop dreams will burst, chains will proliferate and flatten the idiosyncrasies of many neighborhoods, more economic activity will flow into e-commerce, and restaurants will undergo a transformation unlike anything the industry has experienced since Prohibition.
This is a dire forecast, but there is a glimmer of hope. If cities become less desirable in the next few years, they will also become cheaper to live in. In time, more affordable rents could attract more interesting people, ideas, and companies. This may be the cyclical legacy of the coronavirus: suffering, tragedy, and then rebirth. The pandemic will reset our urban equilibrium and, just maybe, create a more robust and resilient American city for the 21st century. (Quote source and entire article available at this link).
In a series of articles published in the Financial Times listed under the general title of “Coronavirus: The World after the pandemic” with a subtitle stating “As society begins to look beyond the crisis, the FT asks leading commentators and policymakers what to expect from a post-Covid-19 future,” those articles can be read at this link.
Now let’s take a look at the positive side to this COVID-19 pandemic. In an article published on April 18, 2020, titled, “The Positive Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis,” by Joseph Larez, Educator, Consultant, and Certified Trainer, he writes:
With so many negative aspects surrounding COVID-19, it’s important to acknowledge the positives. By this, we receive greater strength to move forward.
- Nature is thriving.
Without us constantly running around to many different places nature is beginning to return to homeostasis and balance. For example, less air pollution and the return of wildlife in areas that haven’t been seen for a long time.
- We have more time for family.
The forced isolation has served as a reminder of how much our loved ones mean to us. And with this newfound importance of connection, families are coming together in ways like never before.
- We realized we are all equal with regard to the force of nature.
Rich or poor, great or small, this virus has impacted all of us. Such a blow of global proportions has broken down the barriers between us and we no longer see ourselves as separate nations.
- We are starting to understand how much we depend on each other.
On an individual level, I am realizing how much I need my friends and family. That without them life is just not the same.
On a societal level, we realize we need to work together to stay safe. It’s not enough that one or two people will follow the recommended health guidelines. We must all work together in order to avoid spreading the virus.
And on a global level countries are realizing how difficult it is to get by without external aid. We even see countries with previous rocky relationships now working together and sending medical supplies to help one another. Let’s hope these relations will continue!
- We have time to think.
Before COVID-19 we used to run around with little time to stop and think. Now our lives have slowed down and we are starting to ask ourselves how do we move forward from here?
Is our previous lifestyle sustainable?
How can we arrange our time to live our best life?
These questions are already the beginning of something great and will prove to be the spark that propels humanity into its next phase of development.
One focused on relationships and community. (Quote source here.)
Someday soon, the lights will be back on and bright again on Broadway, and the magic will be back in the air–and not just on Broadway, but all around America and the world. I’m reminded of the words in the chorus of a song made famous by Doris Day, so I’ll end this post with those words (lyrics source here)–Que será, será. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see . . .
Que será, será . . .
What will be . . .
Will be . . . .
YouTube Video: “On Broadway” by George Benson: