Getting by: Hugging Trees with Vicki Rovere on Ludlow Street

Posted on: September 30th, 2020 at 5:08 am by

In our ongoing series “Getting By,” Lower East Side residents and business owners share, in their own words, how they’re navigating the new normal of pandemic times. In this installment, operator of the longtime Ludlow Street Free Store, Vicki Rovere, penned her thoughts.

I live alone, and after a while in lockdown, I really hankered for a hug. It seemed to me that rubbing back-to-back would be pretty safe, but I couldn’t get any cooperation.

I devised a street-theater piece but had no takers for that, either. [Two people stand a safe distance from each other, looking at each other longingly. Standing by is a person in a hazmat suit with a large trash bin. Hazmat-person squirts sanitizer into the offered palms of the two participants and they thoroughly “wash” their hands, singing whatever. Then hazmat-person places a clear plastic bag over each of their heads. They rush into each other’s arms and hug for as long as they can keep breathing. They step apart, hazmat-person plucks the bags from their heads and puts them in the trash. They stand at a safe distance from each other blowing kisses to each other and to the hazmat person]

The participants in one chat group I sent this to recommended tree-hugging.

When I moved to Ludlow Street 48 years ago, I could lean out my fourth-floor window and see nary a tree. Now, there’s a sturdy one across the street in front of 150. Late at night, I went out resignedly and wrapped my arms around it. I reported back to the group: “It was a comforting sensation; the tree felt very strong and supportive. But knowing how stressful it can be to be an urban tree, I felt that in some sense I was ripping it off. You can’t hug a person without permission, yet I didn’t ask the tree. I also tried leaning against it but it wasn’t totally perpendicular so that was a little awkward.”

One response: “I believe even street trees are wise and slow so I can imagine it really loved your hug but you needed to wait a long time for it to say thank you.”

Recent Stories

Drunk Driver Struck Man on Moped at Bowery and Delancey

A man is in critical condition after an SUV, operated by a driver police believe was intoxicated, struck his moped at Bowery and Delancey Street early Wednesday morning. Police said the Toyota RAV4 turned onto Delancey from the Bowery at around 2:00am, where it struck the 38-year-old on the moped. Paramedics rushed the victim to […]

The Chic COVID Test in Little Italy that Costs $300

In a clash between the Pre-Covid New York CIty and the new, abnormal, meet Rapid Test NYC. This new endeavor brings boutique COVID-19 testing to Little Italy, with its no-wait rapid swab testing at 232 Elizabeth Street. No lines and a posh waiting room await the discerning citizen looking for immediate results. The interior has […]

COVID Has Taken Fineline Tattoo, a Lower East Side Institution

Oh, COVID/2020, you’re an evil bitch. Come Monday, you will no longer be able to walk into Fineline Tattoo shop. But the owner and legacy keeper, Mehai Bakaty, wants you to know: We are not closing, we are moving. LES STRONG.  We will be going back to a private studio next door. Appointment only. Rest […]

Work Underway at New Orchard Street Home of Scarr’s Pizza

Scarr’s Pizza is moving up the street. And the work has already begun. As previously reported, owner Scarr Pimentel applied to remove and transfer the liquor license to 35 Orchard (aka 34 Allen) in what was formerly the Lam & Associates insurance office. (A building now shared with Cheeky Sandwiches.) Community Board 3 signaled its […]

Pandemic Pitch: Essex Crossing Tries to Lease its Office Space

One of the crown jewels of the Essex Crossing mega project – namely, 350,000 square-feet of Class A commercial space – is also an Achilles Heel of sorts. And now, a first look. The Commercial Observer spilled ink this week on the challenges of renting this office space during pandemic times, even referring to the […]