On the Road Again
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On the Road Again

Flora Rosefsky decides to attend a family event in New York City on Nov. 14, and she shares her experience of getting out of home and back on the road again.

After showing her COVID vaccination card, Flora was able to take off her mask at the coffee bar.
After showing her COVID vaccination card, Flora was able to take off her mask at the coffee bar.

Due to COVID, my travel over the last two years has basically consisted of trips to Toco Hill Publix, Kroger or Spicy Peach, doctor’s appointments or a stop at my Decatur studio. The decision to attend a family event in New York City on Nov. 14 was not an easy one for me. Yes, I had my two Pfizer vaccinations from February and a booster shot last October. But what about the breakthrough variant strain, and me still being an older senior who was more vulnerable? How would it feel to travel on a plane again and what would the city be like?

I was planning to attend a memorial tribute service for my older sister, Ethel Young, who had died of COVID back in February, unfortunately due to complications. Her daughter, Claudia, decided to put together a celebration of her life for about 80 guests at the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, at the edge of Central Park. Almost half of the guest list were my Greenbaum mishpocha, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years, other than occasional Zoom sessions. My children, who lived in the New York area, convinced me that the airlines and the city itself had strict COVID protocols. Being fully vaccinated, I agreed to book the Delta ticket to join family and friends.

My daughter, Mollie Spaugh, picked me up Saturday morning to head to the airport. I had called ahead for escort service, which got us through security easily and without tiring me out. I noticed signage all over the airport about the need to be masked at all times. Mollie brought her own sanitizer wipes to clean our seats and the screen on the seatback in front of us, yet there were more reminders telling passengers that the plane had been sanitized before we entered it.

Flora with three of her four children: Mollie, Steven and Ellen.

New York City is known for its top restaurants; my son, Steven, has a loose-leaf book filled with their menus for take-out orders. Waiting for us when we arrived at his apartment on the Upper East Side, were daughter Ellen Cohen and husband Dan, their sons, Jake and Will, Steven with his friend Pattie Ryou, and grandson Eli. We feasted on takeout Italian from nearby Tony D’s, a favorite family-style restaurant. Sunday’s breakfast was a dairy spread from the infamous Barney Greengrass. As in Atlanta, New Yorkers are eating more takeout these days, but dining inside is coming back, too.

Around the corner from Steven’s apartment is Sant Ambroeus, a European-style coffee bar, perfect for a Monday morning chocolate croissant and cappuccino. Like any restaurant now in the city, I had to show proof of my COVID vaccination card, either by taking out the card itself or as a phone photo. After showing my card, I was then allowed to sit down unmasked. This protocol of showing vaccination proof occurs when going to a New York City museum, Broadway show, concert and other indoor events. I noticed how the vast majority of New Yorkers were masked, even while walking the city sidewalks, as well as when inside. On this trip to the Big Apple, I sensed a community coming together to put on their masks and follow the city’s current guidelines and protocols. I don’t have the statistics on how many New Yorkers are vaccinated compared to other cities, but wouldn’t be surprised if they have a high compliance rate.

One rather sad note was seeing so many storefronts and restaurants closed on what were once prosperous streets, including Madison Avenue. Will they come back? Only time will tell.

Flora Rosefsky shares her thoughts about her sister Ethel Young at the tribute celebration held at the MCNY.

Coming home on Nov. 15, Mollie and I arrived at LaGuardia but parted ways. She was off to another concourse to attend a business conference in Charlotte. So here I was, with my cane, depending on Delta’s escort service to get me back home safely. I give high marks to the airline for how well they accommodated those who needed assistance with thoughtful and fine employees. Always arriving super early at any airport, with time to kill before boarding my flight, I decided to have lunch. The best part was sitting next to someone who helped me figure out how to work the restaurant’s tabletop screen and use my charge card. We enjoyed each other’s company, and James actually helped me put my bags in the overhead compartment. Once again, Delta escort service met me at the Atlanta gate and took me directly to the Uber area, where I found my driver to take me home.

With a warm greeting and hug from husband Bernie as I got out of the car, it felt good to be back in Atlanta. If one is fully vaccinated, and at a certain age, with their booster shot, my feeling is that travel can be back again. Follow common sense and be knowledgeable about the COVID guidelines wherever you happen to be heading, because cities and countries may vary. Enjoy being on the road again.

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