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Staying in New York During the Pandemic


Further, because Mr. Jaimes has friends who are nurses, he would have felt he was running away while they were in the city serving the community. “Every night at 7 my neighborhood is filled with people cheering the essential workers,” he said. “If that’s all of my participation, I still thought it was important to do.”

“For those who choose to live in New York, there is something visceral about being in the city now,” said Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical College. “Even when it doesn’t have the usual energy it still has more than other places.”

People may love their weekend house, Dr. Saltz continued, “but the home they identify as emotionally resonant is New York City. And being away at a difficult time doesn’t always make them feel better; it could make them feel worse. I’m aware of people who went to their country home, spent a couple of weeks, felt unhappy and came back to New York.”

Practical rather than emotional considerations have kept some people at their primary residence. “My husband and I talked about it, but we felt we would have more options in New York if we got sick,” said Lisa Ruggeri, 64, a volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum who lives on the Upper East Side in a three-bedroom co-op and has a weekend house in East Hampton.

“Our cellphones don’t work well in the Hamptons and we didn’t know what our internet would be like,” continued Ms. Ruggeri, who was also concerned that the swell of New Yorkers on the South Fork would mean lines at the gas station and empty shelves at the few grocery stores.

“Here we have a Whole Foods Market across the street, the drugstore is on the corner. We didn’t want to leave home base for a place that wasn’t as familiar,” said Norman Silverberg, a retired advertising executive who with his wife, Denise, is a shareholder in a Midtown East co-op and a beach front co-op in Westhampton Beach. Mr. Silverberg also didn’t want to be pointed out by the locals, he said, “as someone who shouldn’t be out here.”


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