“It was worth the wait”: like Sae and Richard, the couples in love found their way back to the wedding office on Manhattan Island, New York on Friday, a symbol for the city after more one year closed due to the pandemic.
“We wanted something simple, very intimate, and we wanted to do it at + City Hall +”, says Sae Feurtado, a 32-year-old New York photographer, in a relationship for seven years with Richard Kissi, in front of the large public building. where they just got married.
“We had decided to get married just before the Covid”, she continues with a big smile, a bouquet of purple flowers in her hand, a little crown in her hair and a black mask on her face. “And then it happened,” adds her husband, to allude to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced New York to close its schools, cultural places and many services for several months.
The marriage office had been closed since March 2020 and only reopened on Friday. Previous times, “I think it was after 9/11, and we were closed after (Hurricane) Sandy” in 2012, said registrar Michael McSweeney.
“It’s fantastic to finally come face-to-face with people,” he adds, although for the moment only one witness is allowed per marriage, and even if the other offices in the city remain closed. .
The office, where “the good days” are held “for more than 200 ceremonies”, is not strictly speaking in the “City Hall”, the town hall, but in another public building a few blocks from there in the south of Manhattan Island. Inside, only a wall covered with a large photograph of City Hall allows you to pretend you are there.
“It was possible to get married on Zoom, but I didn’t want that. I wanted a real wedding, in person,” says Fabian, a 22-year-old Spanish student who lives in New York and got married on Friday with Pablo, a 31-year-old Dominican. The town hall had set up an online wedding service.
For the American cultural capital, which has paid a heavy price for the pandemic, with more than 33,000 dead, the return to normal life is crucial, in particular to regain its tourist vitality. New York has seen its visitor numbers plummet with the coronavirus pandemic, dropping from 66.6 million in 2019 to 22.3 million in 2020.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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