Our story begins with Jena Ellenwood, a bartender in Queens, NY, recounting her experiences moving to New York and finding herself as the newest employee at the Sparrow Tavern, a local Astoria watering hole. We are introduced to Jena’s coworkers and close friends, all working within the network of the New York City hospitality and service industries.
In March 2020, business-as-usual comes to a grinding halt as COVID-19 sweeps through New York, quickly establishing Queens as the epicenter of the pandemic in not only the state of New York, but throughout the entire country. Bars and restaurants are ordered to close, leaving thousands of hospitality workers stranded without work and an uncertain future. Jena and her friends vent their frustrations and anxieties, not only surrounding the seemingly hopeless economic uncertainty, but also the deadly virus that threatens their very lives.
Jena and her friends learn to adapt and cope with the reality of life during COVID, finding new sources of income and seizing the opportunity to pursue creative endeavors that might normally be sidelined. Throughout the process of finding a foothold in this “new normal”, the anxiety and uncertainty of New York’s hospitality industry looms, as 2020 ends with COVID hospitalizations in New York continuing to rise once again.
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