An exhilarating and intimate look at what happened when the pandemic emptied the city―and a rebellious energy reclaimed the streets.
Author, social critic, and “New York City’s career elegist” (New York Times), Jeremiah Moss felt alienated in a town that had become suburbanized and sanitized. Then lockdown launched an unprecedented urban experiment: What happens when an entire social class abandons the city?
Out in streets made vibrant by New Yorkers left behind, Moss found a sense of freedom he never thought possible. Participating in a historic explosion of protest, resistance, and spontaneity, from queer BLM marches to exuberant outdoor dance parties, he discovers that, without “hyper-normal” people to constrain it, New York can be more creative, connected, humane, and joyful. In this genre-bending work of “autotheory,” Moss gives an account of his renewed sense of place as a transgender man, braiding the narrative with psychoanalysis, literature, and queer theory, as he offers valuable insight into the way public space―and the spaces inside us―are controlled and can be set free.
Jeremiah Moss, creator of the award-winning blog Vanishing New York, is the pen name of Griffin Hansbury. His writing on the city has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and online for the New Yorker and the Paris Review. As Hansbury, he is the author of The Nostalgist, a novel, and works as a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City.