To romanticize New York is to simply add to a genre unto its own. Great thinkers (and terrible ones too, for that matter), have all claimed their space in re-telling wonders of the Empire City. Cynister or sentimental, they wax poetic about that same momentum; the invisible thread that ties the earliest settlers to the ones designing new highrises every day. Yet regardless of the spice, the dish is always the same. Traditional stories tell us New York is exhilarating, varied, and only for the faint of heart. And then Covid came and begged the question: what is left when a city that never sleeps is forced into hibernation?
In 2020 we watched as New York’s “momentum” vanished, leaving behind only our apartments and each other. Left with no choice but to stand still, we tried to move forward anyway. We sanitized groceries and learned to work Zoom as businesses that defined our neighborhood shuttered. It felt like the city we loved was vanishing into thin air, and we couldn’t even go outside to savor what pieces were left. Finally, Spring arrived, and we exchanged shock for reality. We dusted ourselves off, learned to read smiles through masks, and a new city was born. A Newer York.
(Beastie Boys, An Open Letter to New York, 2004.)
To be clear, our point here is not to personify the city as so many have done, after all, it is just concrete piles stacked high on stolen land. Anyone who has lived there knows well enough to avoid glamorizing the twinkling sum of its parts, at least not until you’ve left. But there was a cosmic shift when Covid happened. A sort of re-awakening to what New York is really about. For so long we’ve glorified the current of New York City, celebrating the waves with no regard for the moon. Now, we know better. No longer will we define our city by the “hustle”, but instead by our commitment to each other.
With the newfound sense that life is short and precious, we’ve devised a site that celebrates New York’s small business and the people behind them. We want to make it easy to show your support for the businesses that give this city its life and culture. And so we’ve spent the fall curating our favorite small businesses into one catalogue. The stress of the holiday season often makes shopping feel like a chore, but it is our hope that our site re-ignites joy in gifting and above all, the joy of New York.