Cole Giordano         
Brooklyn, NY     

Even after the lockdown’s first serious phase ended and it was considered okay to go out and about again, as long as you were safe, it was still a long time before I felt comfortable being outside and around others. For the first time in my life, a feeling of agoraphobia had set in.

At the same time, there had been a lot of talk in the skateboarding community about how open the city was all of a sudden that I was anxious to experience first hand. The once crowded plazas and downtown streets were now open to skate freely, as many skate media outlets, and even the New York Times were reporting on. So when I got a couple of calls from skate magazines to get some new photos, I worked myself up to leave Brooklyn for the first time in months and ventured to Times Square to meet up with some friends and see what it was like.
By that point, we had missed the first wave of a truly open midtown. Only those brazen enough to go out at the height of lockdown had benefited from that, but we still enjoyed hours of hassle free skateboarding with only a handful of masked passerbys stopping to take photos or watch for a few moments. This, in and of itself, was an unbelievably unusual moment. Rarely, if ever, have I spent so much time willingly hanging out in Times Square.

As time went on, outings like this began to feel more comfortable, but even the good moments were fleeting as the crowds and security guards slowly returned in enough force to deter such wanton sessions. And now, as the city prepares to reopen fully in July, I sense that after a year of adjusting to pandemic living, the bigger adjustment will be returning to life as we knew it.

- Cole