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Mackenna Lee

Disembark, Grow, Illuminate.

Weeks of quarantine are trifling. What normally is a well-paved road forward is a dark shrouded forest. The path is less certain, more murky and our comfortable vehicles we typically drive cannot take us where we need to go. From here, we are on foot.

There’s a lot to be gained from thinking inventively. When pushed, squeezed, and contained we become crafty.

NYC restaurants have borne a burden to keep the population safe. While worth the weight, the sweat labor of restaurants, with low margins and high expectations does not often pad a safe landing for times of economic uncertainty. I pass by small corners of Manhattan, and I see the businesses transformed into storage units – tables stacked upon eachother, encouraging hand-written signs on the doors.

Stay Safe.

Though the NYC restaurant scene has deftly re-equipped itself. Take-Out is available even at high-end restaurants. Outdoor seating is stretching into the streets. Even in times of want for small businesses, I’ve witnessed partnership to provide meals for essential workers pulling hospital shifts.

When the going gets tough, they keep going.

I gain tremendous perspective from acting to the quickly changing scenery. In these situations, we have limited control over the environment. Fluidity is a remarkable trait, and the more we can grow comfortable with uncertainty, fear might loosen its grip.

Instead of an overwhelming fatigue when thinking of “the great unknown”, we can pause and celebrate that we will be forced to behave differently. While unfamiliar, it may not be inherently evil.

I’ve found myself appreciating microdetails – the morning chirping of birds, the smiling eyes of a stranger, and opportunities to uplift others. Seeing a friend at times when I had a million places to be in a day felt burdensome, but now I reach for them.


I’ve learned a lot from NYC Restaurants prior to these world events – celebrate your heritage, flex your creativity, and delight others. Since then, I’ve gleaned a fiery underbelly fighting for their existence while acknowledging a moving backdrop.

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