The author and his wife atop Anthony’s Nose overlooking the Hudson River
Staying Informed, Inspired, and in Touch During the Pandemic
By Arthur Stampleman
Life has been very different for many of this retiree’s activities in the past year – no visits to museums, no theater, no travel, and far too few in-person gatherings among them.
Over the course of the last 11 months, I used a range of internet tools to address those issues, tools that may be helpful post-pandemic.
Before the shutdown last March, I visited art museums at least once a week, mainly locally, as a docent at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, but also many in Manhattan, and on travels with my wife Cynthia. Two or three times a month we attended concerts or the theater. Not wanting to miss the enjoyment or the opportunity to increase our knowledge and appreciation of the arts that such visits can provide, I searched museum, library, and concert hall websites to keep the arts at hand. By sharing my findings with others, it helped us keep in touch with friends and family we would otherwise have been cut off from.
- The Frick Collection offers“Cocktails with a Curator”, Friday evening discussions of objects in their collection firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art offersa range of videos and, for a fee, virtual tours for groups, www.Metmuseum.org
- The Chappaqua Libraryhosts art lectures and foreign affairs discussions, email@example.com
- One Day University offers one-hour lectures on a range of topics by top professors from across the country,firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enjoy liveone-act plays by Play With Your Food, email@example.com
- Today Tix offers theaterfrom your sofa, both live plays, and recordings of Broadway and Shakespeare plays from Stratford, Ontario, https://www.todaytix.com
- The Metropolitan Opera offers a range of programs,including recordings of past performances, and live performances by its stars, staged in fabulous and exotic venues, www.metopera.org
- Boston Symphony Orchestrapresents live streaming and recordings of past concerts, https://bso.org.
In 2019, we travelled outside the New York area on eight occasions, two driving trips to New England locations, and six airplane flights to other states, Europe, or Montreal – all very typical of our wanderlust in prior years. In 2020, we made only one trip outside the New York area – we flew to Florida in early March to deal with a death in the family before it was clear travel during the pandemic was risky.
But rather than sit on our sofa and sulk because air and train travel were off limits, we decided to go on regular hikes, in addition to walking more. Two or three days a week, we hiked over three dozen parks and preserves in Westchester and Connecticut. Before each one, Cynthia downloaded and printed a copy of the trail map from our destination’s webpage.
We can attest to the pleasures of many:
- MianusRiver Gorge Preserve, Bedford
- MianusRiver Park, Stamford
- Tod’s Point, Greenwich
- Rockwood Hall, Pleasantville
- Rockefeller State Park and Preserve, Pleasantville
- Teatown,Cliffdale,and Kitchawan Preserve, Ossining
- Westmoreland Sanctuary, Mt.Kisco
- River Walk along the Hudson, Tarrytown
- Croton Gorge Park andOld Croton AqueductTrail, Croton–on–Hudson
- Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve, Yorktown Heights
- Storm King Art Center, New Windsor
Keeping in Touch
With the safety guidelines issued due to the pandemic, it was no longer possible to have friends and family over dinner, to visit them, to go to restaurants, to travel to be with them, or to attend meetings. We rectified that situation to some degree by inviting others to join us on our hikes, or we met in our garden or theirs. Because this still left a big gap, we learned how to have Zoom gatherings with family and friends near and far and we promoted or attended Zoom or webinar meetings for the organizations we are involved with.