August 12, 2022

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NYC influencers on why they stayed in the city during the pandemic

  • While some New York City-based influencers have fled the city during the coronavirus, others have stayed put for several reasons.
  • Business Insider spoke with four NYC lifestyle bloggers, who cited various reasons for staying: It’s convenient for work, part of their responsibility as an influencer, and brings normalcy for their families.
  • But all four shared the same key reason: “New York City is my home.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Grace Atwood would be lying if she said there wasn’t a part of her that wishes she was spending her quarantine taking cozy walks through the woods of the Catskills and drinking wine around a fireplace at night with her two best friends.

Like many New Yorkers, the Brooklyn-based blogger behind the lifestyle blog The Stripe felt the temptation to flee the city when the pandemic hit in pursuit of more space and safety upstate. But instead, she stayed.

The choice was partly due to practical reasons, like being unable to afford paying double rent and needing to work. She told Business Insider that while she can do her job anywhere, it’s easiest done at home where she has all of her camera, lighting, and podcast recording equipment. Her apartment, she said she hates to admit, is also “very Instagram friendly.”

But, she said, it was the broader implications of leaving that truly kept her in the city.

“To be honest, I didn’t really think about leaving until it was too late and I realized I could potentially be carrying the virus or asymptomatic,” she said. “A lot of those smaller towns don’t have the resources — groceries, supplies, hospitals, beds, and ventilators — to handle an influx of people from the city … It’s scary to think what this virus could potentially do to smaller hospitals if [or] when the virus spreads.”

A responsibility to set an example

Several New York City-based influencers have traded in skyscrapers and sidewalks for trees and tranquility, catching some heat in the process, but Atwood’s quarantine experience shows this isn’t the case for everyone within the concrete jungle’s blogosphere.

Kat Tanita, the blogger behind With Love From Kat, is also riding out the pandemic in her Soho apartment. Like Atwood, she told Business Insider she’s still working full-time and needs to be in her home office. But she also feels it’s part of her job to set an example for others during the pandemic.

“When I heard about the severity of COVID-19 three weeks ago, I immediately began staying home and social distancing,” she said. “As an influencer, I believe that I have a responsibility to impact others in a positive way. For me, this has meant sharing and stressing the importance of staying home and social distancing.”

Tanita said she’s also shifted her blog’s content strategy to help inspire and uplift readers while encouraging them to stay at home. She’s sharing more at-home content like easy meal ideas and free meditation resources and using the platform to support charities, small businesses, and initiatives she believes in like City Harvest NYC, which focuses on feeding hungry New Yorkers.

For NYC influencers with kids, staying was a family decision

For other NYC influencers, staying in the city was the best decision for their family. Sai de Silva of Scout the City told Business Insider she never thought about leaving. By the time the pandemic had spread to New York, it had also spread to other countries and states — getting away didn’t seem like it would solve anything or provide much comfort, she said.

But de Silva also thought keeping her children home would have positive effects for them. She said she aimed to face the situation calmly and maintain as much normalcy as possible in her family’s lives.

“Being home brings a certain sense of comfort and certainty to the kids’ routines, which I think is crucial to helping them cope,” she said. “It also shows them that unpredictable things can and will happen in life, but you can’t just escape or turn the other cheek. Sometimes you have to be patient and learn to adapt.”

She and her husband are trying to take turns with their kids each day so they can have time to themselves and get tasks done. She said she’s been balancing helping them with homeschooling and exercise as well responding to work emails, creating content, and getting creative projects in as well as cooking and baking a lot more.

Brooklyn Blonde’s Helena Glazer is also juggling the mom and blog life from her NYC home, which she called “one big balancing act.” She told Business Insider she typically caters to her kids most of the day and concentrates on her blog content once they go to bed.

“When everything started escalating, my husband and I went through all of the emotions,” she said, adding that they briefly debated whether they should rent a house somewhere upstate before social distancing went into effect. “We have two small children — an almost four-year-old and a five-month-old — so being out of the city would have been nice, but ultimately, we wanted to stay here.”

“New York City is my home”

Glazer said she ultimately didn’t want to leave because New York City is her home. “Being in the epicenter of it all is definitely scary, but being somewhere else did not make sense for us.”

All three other influencers echoed the same sentiment. “I love this city,” Tanita said. “It is my home, and I didn’t want to risk traveling, which could further expose myself to getting sick.”

Like Glazer, Atwood also feels that being in the city during the coronavirus is scary, but said she thinks she’d be even more anxious being away for so long without an end date in sight. “I’ve lived here for 14 years now,” she said. “New York is my home.”

She added that the city has a lot of resources and infrastructure that allow her to lead a relatively normal life without leaving her apartment. For example, she has a variety of ways to get food without stepping foot in a grocery store: grocery delivery windows (albeit hard to come by), delivery from local community-supported agricultures, or ordering takeout from her favorite restaurants. She can also take long walks in her neighborhood.

“All of that said, I’m being really careful — I only go outside for my daily walk, I am not seeing anyone (not even my upstairs neighbors who are also my best friends), and I’m taking things day by day,” she said, adding that she spends her non-work hours watching TV and movies, coloring, and organizing her place.

She added: “If I’m being honest, I like being here.”

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