Over in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Jamaican restaurant Glady’s is trying to figure out how, exactly, to translate their rambunctious rum-punch ambiance to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a-badass Bucs fan Adidas shirt besides I will buy this sidewalks of Franklin Avenue. Right now, they’re mulling over DJs and live music. But it’s a tough call: “I think people, since we’ve been trapped so long inside, want to feel like they’re on vacation for a minute or two,” says director of operations Amanda Bender. “At the same time, I don’t want to disturb our neighbors who are upstairs and working.” Glady’s, which is operating on a skeleton crew of three employees, also decided not to have waiter service in order to protect their health. Instead, guests order from a takeout corner built from wood scraps found in Bender’s basement. They’ve put down pineapple-shaped social distancing markers to lighten the mood, hung up string lights on the façade, and dragged out some bar stools. And they’ve added some little things: They sell one-and-a-half liter rum-punch bags, and every drink now comes with a colorful paper umbrella. “A lot of joy is possible from a paper umbrella,” Bender notes. The goal, she says, is to make it feel like a Tiki-style biergarten. Will it be enough? Bender sure hopes so, but she’s still uncertain. “We go to restaurants for theater. What happens when it starts to feel a little bit like an airport?” The harsh reality is that, until a vaccine, “a little bit like an airport” is likely our new normal. It’s an offer I was taught to refuse as a child, but the question is coming from members of the People’s Bodega—a mobile mutual-aid collective with whom I’ve been emailing for a week—and they radiate an aura of safety and care that is consonant with their mission to offer succor to New Yorkers. We have PPE [personal protective equipment], Gatorade, water, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, Ricola—that’s been very helpful—earplugs, chemical-resistant goggles, face shields, ponchos and rain gear, electrolyte mix, first aid, and literature,” Chloe promptly rattles off, handing me a flyer that spells out the connection between mutual aid—a voluntary, usually community-based exchange of resources—and abolition, which is described as “imagining and working towards a future in which policing is obsolete and community has control of its own destiny.” The People’s Bodega isn’t looking to replace the police. But when NYPD officers hand out free masks in some neighborhoods and use excessive force against protesters in others, it’s hard to argue with the idea that New York needs more community care than its existing institutions can provide. That’s where the People’s Bodega comes in.
Buy this shirt: Tampa Bay Buccaneers a-badass Bucs fan Adidas shirt