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Photos: a month of signs, sounds and symbols in Harlem during the pandemic

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

The marquee at the Apollo Theater in Harlem reads "Be Well" during the coronavirus pandemic
The marquee at the Apollo Theater reads "Be Well." during the coronavirus pandemic

It's been a little more than a month since the coronavirus crisis drastically altered New York's landscape, closing down non-essential businesses and requiring anyone who could to stay home.

Empty of people, the city's streets have slowly filled with new signs, sounds and symbols reflecting the times.

Through it all, The Curious Uptowner has been documenting the scene during short solo walks through Harlem and the South Bronx.

Here is a sampling of what people have been writing, drawing and cheering, in somewhat chronological order:


First came the notes from restaurants that decided to shut down during the crisis, punctuated with heartfelt messages:

Notes from Harlem restaurants that decided to shut down during the coronavirus crisis


Then came the official notices posted on entrances to city playgrounds:

Closed New York playgrounds during the coronavirus pandemic


Chalk signs in Riverside Park lifted spirits:


While new rules went into effect in grocery stores, including dedicated shopping hours for seniors:

New shopping hours for senior citizens during the coronavirus pandemic


Stores like the Fairway in Harlem posted lists of products that were in limited supply–something that would have been unimaginable only a few weeks ago:

Products in limited supply at the Harlem Fairway during the coronavirus pandemic


Accompanying the signs and lists came lines on sidewalks showing how to keep six feet apart:

Social distancing at a supermarket in the Bronx


Street graffiti in Hamilton Heights made it clear:

Street graffiti in Harlem during the coronavirus pandemic


Some bodegas decided to close down, too:


Meanwhile, the post office showed the proper way to social distance:


And there were also rays of hope, written in magic marker:

A handwritten sign in Harlem during the coronavirus pandemic


The Apollo Theater soothed with a series of messages on its iconic marquee:

The Apollo marquee in Harlem during the coronavirus pandemic


As did the childrens' rainbows showing their support (thanks to Carmen Keels for the first image, a window painted by her kids):

A rainbow drawing in Harlem during the coronavirus pandemic


And through it all, the soundtrack of the city cheering and clapping at 7pm every night, thanking our health care and other essential workers:

For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter



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