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Is a Second Wave Starting? New Yorkers Are Steeling Themselves

Erin Kommor and Keith White, both actors in Washington Heights, plan to get a dog to keep them company if they’re stuck inside. They said they monitor the positivity rates in daily emails from the city. “Not time to be stupid, I guess,” Mr. White said.

Others are consciously embracing the parts of the city they missed most during the last lockdown. Kitty Hatfield, 75, in SoHo, said she planned to get an insulated pad to use at her favorite restaurants, for as long as they’re open, so she can sit outside when the temperatures drop. Her plan: “Put more clothes on and keep doing what I’m doing,” she said.

Jessica Yan and Chris Uller have been traveling to Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan to find rock walls for climbing, with an urgency steeped in concern that at some point, they won’t be able to.

“I feel like a future wave is something that’s in the back of my mind, but I also feel like there’s a point at which we have to prioritize mental health as well,” Ms. Yan said.

Sezer Benoit-Savci, 17, who graduated from high school in the spring and is taking a gap year, showed up for his new job at the grocery-eatery Lea in Kensington, in an area where indoor dining is now banned. “Being shut down and locked in my house would be unfortunate,” he said.

Like the rock-climbers in Fort Tryon Park, Rachel Tigay, a 53-year-old high school social worker, has been focusing on exercise. She regularly meets friends for bicycle rides in the city. “I’m biking more than I ever have,” she said.

A sense of panic seems offset by experience: New Yorkers have lived through this before. Many of those interviewed expressed confidence in their ability to keep themselves safe, comforted in knowing that what they’ve been doing for months has worked so far.

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