When this is all over...
by Ed Wendell
Apr 08, 2020 | 899 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s a phrase that keep popping up in conversation. “When this is all over,” people start their sentences with before naming something they can’t wait to do when the danger of COVID-19 has passed.

When this is all over, we’re going to have a big party. When this is all over, I’m going to hug all my friends and enjoy their friendship more than ever. When this is all over, I’m going to shake the hand of everyone I see.

When this is all over, I’m going to go to church. When this is all over, I’m going to spend more time outside.

When this is all over, I’m going to be better prepared for the next wave.

It’s on this last point that I hope the residents of New York City come together and question our own wisdom.

For example, was it wise to close down hospitals in a city packed with so many people? It’s inexcusable that we are treating ill patients in tents in Central Park and on the floor of the Javits Center.

A city this size and this many people, that has been the target of terrorist attacks, needs more hospitals, not less. It’s hard to imagine that even being subject to debate, yet here we are.

When this is all over, the city should invest in more hospitals and disaster recovery centers and be better prepared to handle the devastation behind the next virus or the next 9/11.

When this is all over, we need to reexamine the wisdom of turning a blind eye to so many illegal conversions, which has left so many of our neighborhoods overcrowded.

You can imagine how rapidly the virus is spreading in some of these homes. The two-family houses with four doorbells and nine satellite dishes, where keeping a safe distance from your neighbor isn’t possible.

If you’re not going to make an attempt to manage overcrowding in this city, then it’s insane to not have enough hospitals to treat everyone.

When this is all over we’re also going to need a citywide conversation about the homeless. It wasn’t that long ago that residents of Woodhaven were complaining about people defecating in the streets.

In a moment in time where we’re worried about picking up deadly invisible germs from shopping carts, it’s insane that this problem was allowed to linger.

We were told by the city that it was powerless to detain the defecators, yet we’ve all been detained inside our homes in the interest of public safety. If the interest of public safety matters now, let’s hope it still matters.

When this is all over.

And on the matter of homeless, our communities need to sit down at the table with the city and reexamine objections to homeless shelters.

The best argument against homeless shelters in your community has nothing to do with the homeless and everything to do with our city’s gross incompetence in running them.

The time for these conversations will come, when this is all over. And I hope that more people will become involved in that conversation, when this is all over.

There are several civic meetings per month in and around Woodhaven, and if you get more than 50 people attending any of them that’s considered a very impressive crowd.

But years ago, they measured attendance at such meetings in the hundreds, not dozens. People cared more and the neighborhood and the city benefited from that care.

The incompetence of our city has tough competition in the indifference of its citizens. Put these two together and what do you get? Just take a look around us.

Again, the time for these conversations will come, when this is all over. But first, we will all need time to heal. Sadly, we all know friends who have lost loved ones during this time, most of them non-virus related. And those families have not been able to have proper wakes or funerals.

We’re all going to have a lot of memorial services to attend when this is all over.

And then we’ll try to get back to normal. Going out for a bite to eat or a drink will become a wonderful novelty again. Hugging your friends and not having to wear masks and gloves is going to feel really nice.

It’s going to feel good. When this is all over.
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