Coronavirus could help us reclaim city streets — but only if officials act

This essay was first published in our semi-weekly newsletter, Climate in the Time of Coronavirus, which you can subscribe to here . I live a stone’s throw away from one of the loveliest streets in Brooklyn. It’s tucked away, improbably, between a busy four-lane avenue and ground-level subway tracks: six blocks of Victorian mansions looking out on wide landscaped medians that feel like miniature parks. (They feel that way in part because they’re maintained by the New York City parks department. ) Nearly every day since I started working from home more than a month ago, I’ve taken a midday break to go walk to the end of the six blocks and back — the modesty of this journey a reflection of how much my life has shrunk in the age of social distancing. The street is almost painfully beautiful in springtime, the magnolia trees, tulips, and daffodils in the medians bursting with color. I pass other solitary pedestrians, joggers, adolescent skateboarders, parents teaching their kids how to ride bikes. Under normal circumstances, we’d share the sidewalk, but now the six-foot mandate has people spreading out onto the asphalt. When drivers come through, which isn’t very often, they usually […]

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