An NYC Post-Covid Prediction

I describe what would happen if COVID vanished from New York City.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By The Art Department

Imagine that, by some miracle, New York City is freed from the shackles of the pandemic the moment the Times Square Ball drops, ushering in 2021.

Across all five boroughs, elderly people leap from their hospital beds like Grandpa Joe to visit the magnificent chocolate factory. Thousands of middle-aged adults instantly overcome what they had previously thought was a cold. No teenager or young child notices any difference, but their lungs take a sigh of relief nonetheless. Doctors everywhere are baffled yet jump at the chance to send all their patients off with hefty bills for their fantastic treatment. Governor Cuomo, noticing that the rest of the world is not blessed with this arcane occurrence, immediately closes off every route of entry into the city. The city, though a safe haven from the virus, is now isolated by land, air, and sea. The Catholic Church hurries to transcribe January 1, 2021, as “Gooder Friday” in their calendars and missalettes.

Once word of this anomaly spreads all across the city, from Wakefield in the Bronx to Tottenville in Staten Island, the city starts to awaken from its slumber. Like an overweight, balding man, New York City pulls back the covers and sits up in bed with a groan. Though city-dwellers were aching to leave their houses for many months, they are hesitant to return to their now ancient ways. The fascists in the board of education, however, waste no time and make school attendance on Monday compulsory. It is surprising to nobody that kids must learn rational functions in the midst of the most baffling event in human history.

The social impact of Gooder Friday becomes immediately apparent. Though the earliest city-wide test scores following the event are the lowest on record, students report a massive improvement in their mood on back-to-school surveys. Junior Dave “Littleshoes” Wu even speaks to the New York Post about this occurrence.

“Our social ladder has completely collapsed. My friends don’t like each other anymore since it’s been so long since we’ve hung out. I was on the lacrosse team, but none of us are fit enough to actually play. Okay, we were already not fit enough to play but still,” Littleshoes says. “Our Stuy volleyball team is too fat to serve the ball. Even though the virus is gone, everyone is too terrified to go near the swimming pool. I used to joke around in the back of my history class, but now we’re quieter than a morgue.”

After the reporter thanks him for his dialogue, she wishes him a good day at school, to which he replies, “You too.”

This tale of social ineptitude happens to be repeating itself throughout the city, with many adults and teens’ conversational skills having been thrown off-kilter. New Yorkers are searching to satiate their nine months of social hunger yet find no communication skills to aid them. At this rate, New York may switch from America’s meanest city to its most awkward one.

After the initial confusion subsides and the fog settles, though, the streets of New York City erupt with the biggest celebration seen since the repeal of the supersize drink ban of 2012. By the end of January 2021, the stock market completely recovers from the dive it took during the pandemic. Thousands of New York City restaurants timidly open their doors, hoping to score some business, and all are quickly packed to the brim with eager customers. A crappy animated movie hits the theaters and rapidly rivals the box office success of major blockbusters due to its exceptionally good timing. Every sporting event down to the Little Leagues is met with bleachers full of middle-aged men donning face paint and foam pointers. Strangely, Williamsburg residents report no change in their day-to-day life.

As New Yorkers recover from their social idiocy, they gain a sense of unity and brotherhood unseen since the city’s founding. The urban toxicity, however, is not to be dispelled, and it morphs what was a philosophical state of harmony into extreme New York City chauvinism. Examples of this nationalism include the banning of rival city cuisine, such as Philly cheesesteaks and Chicago deep-dish pizzas. French fries get renamed Empire State Fries. Complaints begin to circulate that the United States government “wasn’t doing enough for New Yorkers.”

For the rest of America, however, coronavirus cases are still on the rise. Many residents of neighboring states falsely believed that they were all clear when the celebration bells were sounded at such an eardrum-bursting volume, and their preemptive celebration sends COVID-19 numbers skyrocketing. A gory scene unfolds on the bridges and tunnels of New York City as hundreds of New Jerseyites, Connecticutters, and even people from upstate are mowed down as they seek asylum from their quarantine.

As the months pass, New York City becomes, in many ways, an independent state. The isolationist attitude of the city ushers in a new era of mechanized trade as swarms of drones deliver supplies from neighboring areas, avoiding human contact. Cargo ships arriving in New York ports carry goods only for members of the city. Without outside influence, New York dialect noticeably drifts away from the English language, quickly becoming incomprehensible to anybody outside city limits. Several corporations with offices in NYC, including Google and Chase, forgo their business with the rest of the world and begin to offer their services exclusively to New Yorkers. Large protests calling for the total secession of New York City from the rest of the U.S. ensue.

By 2030, New York City (known commonly in Yorkese as “┼├╩╟╗└”) becomes something else altogether. Having long ago ceased all contact with any outside peoples, the city is entirely excluded from the rest of humanity. Mile-high steel walls surround the five boroughs, failing to obscure the futuristic obelisks that now dominate the skyline, which are now being called “spacescrapers.” Starting in 2033, New Yorkers begin to colonize the moon, and by 2038, stations on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are spotted by outside observers. New Jerseyites start complaining about the deafening roar generated by the constant stream of spaceships and satellites being spouted out of the city. Last-ditch attempts of mankind to contact the New Yorkers are met with total silence, other than one phrase that is decoded to mean “BUG OFF.”

By 2050, a peculiar phenomenon is witnessed by humans still living on Earth. On October 5 (later designated “New York Day”), the surface of the Sun appears to take the appearance of the now aged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He is said to have smiled briefly and waved at the Earth before taking a bite out of a hot dog and fading away to eternity.

In other news, the infection rate of the coronavirus briefly dips below 50 percent for the rest of the United States.