PARK SLOPE ARTISTS WINDSOR TERRACE
"OUR VOICES, OUR STORIES"
Neighbors share their stories in their own words.
We are all in this together. We will get through this.
LIFE AND COVID 19 PANDEMIC.
The original plan for OUR VOICES, OUR STORIES was to install a photo exhibition at 6/15 Green, a community garden in Park Slope at Spring or Fall Festival; an installation with masked and unmasked storytellers.
Our lives and environment has changed so much that I decided to share stories of our present journey here in hope of bringing comfort, joy and connection with one another NOW.
Neighbors, gardeners, acquaintances and friends share their truth.
I am 72 years old and expect to grow older. I enjoy the arts. I frequent art galleries, museums, Artist tours and install The Open Space Gallery Project at 6/15 Green and BQLT gardens. My passions: photography and gardening.
I am blessed to have my own home and garden. I am able to stay focused on a “sense” of reality as I garden. (Breathe)
I long for being able to connect with parishioners, friends and family members physically. Connecting via phone is now a priority to maintain a sense of presence since gatherings/ outings are not sensible or possible. I love my aloneness but I miss physical interaction.
I am lucky to have my buddy, a mini pincher, but lately sheltering has caused new behavior. He spends a lot of time in his basket sleeping, at upstairs window he barks at other dogs he spots outside; normal. When it comes to feeding time he snorts, kicks his hind legs rapidly and impatiently. I stare back at him while I cut his meal into bite size pieces. He snorts louder, sits at attention and stares at me. I am hoping this is just temporary misbehavior. He hasn’t gotten an anxiety attack. For that I am grateful. His new normal, I hope not?
I am fortunate to have neighbors that have reached out to me and brought me groceries and surprised me with “sweet” delights. I got meals from City Meals on Wheels. It is comforting to know I can be guaranteed one meal a day. I meditate in the morning and follow up with Chair Yoga exercises.
Venturing out at least three times a week is my new normal following health guidelines and advice in Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta. Sensing an oncoming agoraphobia episode, I reached out for behavior sessions with SPOP. I am glad I did. My anxiety has lessened and I am focusing on activities that keep me engaged. I schedule meet ups with friends. Speak on phone more and am working on creative art projects and writing.
CLASH! CRACK! BANG! My neighbors’ two boys keep me busy throwing back the soccer and baseballs they accidentally toss over my 7 foot chain link fence. I hear their voices at play and notice how the fence buckles when a forceful ball hits. I am glad they are having fun. God keep my fence intact, I pray!
As I let my buddy out to chase birds and watch him rest on his little pillow in the sun in the garden, I hear piano and other musical instruments at a distance. I think of our Essential Workers and how we clapped at 7 pm to honor them. This connection was vital and still is.
I AM NOT ALONE. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. WE WILL ALL GET THROUGH THIS.
Hollis lives in Greenwich Village. Hollis enjoys yoga, bike riding, baking, and taking care of the chickens and goats at the EARTH MATTER COMPOST LEARNING CENTER on Governors Island. She is also co-manager of the Lavender Field on the island.
When the pandemic started she began to write updates to family and friends scattered across the globe. She wanted to share her thoughts from the epicenter of this terrible plague to let her loved ones know how she was doing, thus was born:
THE COOTIE TOWN DIARIES - A PANDEMONICAL JOURNAL
On this site you will read ongoing entries by Hollis from her Cootie Diary where she shares her experiences during Covid-19. Join us on her journey.
COOTIE TOWN JOURNAL
Feb 26 2021 entry
Rereading all my previous pandemic posts. I am struck by recurrence of random obsessions and what it may reveal about me.
· Unduly focused on hair situation- “Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.” -Ecclesiastes 1
· Impressed by frequent (and retrospectively unwarranted) feelings of optimism - “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better”- Dalai Lama
· Restaurant focus is highly unnatural as I rarely go out to eat even in best of times. No explanation/saying but feel it is something about a dog in a manger, or having cake and eating it too? No, neither of those actually track; would never say no to cake. Never!
Reading posts from the past proved a bit nerve shattering. Seems so long ago all this began and I have managed to put much of it behind me. Resurrecting those dark days left me feeling a little wonky. Will feel better for sure if I go brush my hair and eat a Ring Ding.
-Subway service went from 24/7 to 20/7 at beginning of pandemic, now restored to 22/7. Closing times allowed thorough cleaning/disinfecting of cars, a theory which has since proved false as apparently spread not transmitted by touching metal and plastic in subway cars. Thorough cleaning, in my opinion, never a bad idea; cooties or not.
-Mayor preparing to make city wide double mask mandate, and already implemented in government buildings. Yes, that means wearing 2 masks at once. Can barely breathe through one mask let alone being buried beneath two. Sigh (and gasp). -Sports arenas preparing to reopen to 10% capacity.
-Spontaneously drove with friend to giant Japanese supermarket in NJ other day. Excited beyond all reason to be in car and out of Manhattan for 1st time in over a year. What a strange and exotic place is NJ- no laws requiring one to bring own grocery bags to stores (they are profligate with plastic bag distribution). Mitsuwa market moderately full and almost all items labeled only in Japanese making shopping delightful and mysterious experience.
-Is it salad dressing or roach repellent (will let Mr. Husband test and decide)?
I’m a dancer, fulfilled by a career of performances and classes in New York, the Midwest and Europe. I enjoy silence, nature, classical music, books, traveling and films. I live with my husband Jim and we have a part time roommate during school weeks who commutes from Long Island.
I teach a dedicated class (pod) of Preschool in person on weekday mornings and sometimes online. Teaching children online is challenging; maintaining their attention is difficult. In person, they are rewarding to work with. It’s exhausting but worth it.
I also teach adult Chair Yoga and Parkinson’s Dance classes via Zoom. Teaching adults online is gratifying but difficult to monitor as computer cameras don’t always capture full bodies on screen.
The quarantine initially reminded me of 9/11. We stayed home for a week or so. No airlines or traffic sounds as the city stood still, smoking from the towers.
Making room for Zoom teaching in my apartment has been a joy. Jim and I created a large space (8’x 8’) clear of furniture so I can be seen full-body on video screens.
We don’t do much socializing except for a few friends, usually meeting outdoors in the garden near our building or at an open air restaurant.
I’m sad about losing physical contact with people, limited travel, and learning about loss of friends and family members, jobs and homes. Relief is the availability of dance, film, theater and music concerts online thanks to the internet.
I participate in Yoga and Ballet classes online to keep grounded in my physical and mental practice and we shop at the ParkSlopeFood Coop.
I dislike traffic noise, social media, cluttered spaces, dirty environments and junk foods; and I really miss being able to teach my classes in person.
Here’s the Link:
Meeting ID: 525 381 2297
For more information contact
917 756 8242 (please leave a voice mail message)
I like music. I like singing and dancing. I love gardening!
Since I wasn’t able to go to the beach or visit with my friends or family, I have visited the garden almost every day. I love talking to my roses.
My friend Juanita and I have enjoyed watering different plots at 6/15 Green. Cleaning and getting rid of weeds have been tasks and harvesting tomatoes, jalapenos, eggplants, beans and herbs in my plot.
The garden has given Juanita and me time away from our lonely apartments, boring TV shows and isolation.
Hopefully we will soon be able to open garden gates at 6/15 Green to all and not just membership. Neighbors want to come in but can’t because of Covid- 19.
Passersby stop and look in from the sidewalk through the fence and ask, “When will you be open?”
“Soon I hope.” I tell them.
The community garden has been a blessing for me in this pandemic. It lifts my spirits. I am grateful for that.
Call for Artists! Pattern Theme Show
The health and safety of our staff, artists and visitors is always our principal concern. When you visit the Gallery, a face covering and social distancing are required.
Thursday, May 6
Open Source will continue to host our famous "Quarantine Jams” during 2021 at the gallery (17th St. and 6th Ave). While inside gigs are still not allowed, let's take advantage of the nice weather and our wide open space! Wander by, support the arts, and dance!
Elaine Su-Hui is a visual artist and founder of Inner Fields NY; an experiential, collaborative project exploring the intersection of Buddhism, radical ecology, and artistic practice. Through a creative methodology grounded in gift economics and communal intimacy, Inner Fields designs public programs and curated events aimed at breaking down hierarchical and commodity-based forms of interaction, and building relationships steeped in ecological wisdom.
BROOKLYN QUEENS LAND TRUST - MARCH 2016 NEWSLETTER