Eric Whipple is a 53-year-old designer who lives in Chelsea. He considered escaping the city to a friend’s house upstate — but doesn’t want to leave his 82-year-old neighbor, Lorna Lable. As she told The Post: “I’m a night owl and I like to walk my dog Pete late. But things are different now, and I I felt uncomfortable on my own.” Here, Whipple shares their story.
Our Chelsea neighborhood really emptied out since the quarantine started. The young professionals went to be with their parents and the wealthy went to their second homes.
A few days in, I saw Lorna on the street wearing surgical gloves. She said, “Eric, I have to do something I’m not supposed to do.” She pressed herself against my back and stayed for about five seconds before pulling away and saying, “I’m sorry — I needed some human contact.”
We talked for a while, and I sensed she didn’t want to go back to her apartment alone, but was also nervous about being outside too long. She’s not feeble, but Lorna was uncomfortable taking her dog, Pete, for his nighttime walk as the streets were deserted.
So now we have a standing appointment at 10:15 every evening to walk Pete and my dog, Penelope, together.
It’s clear that more important than just providing security for our walks together, I’m the only human contact she has during some days. We’ve learned a lot about each other during these strolls together and it’s so moving to see how we are all connected. She is the quintessential New Yorker: actress, writer, dancer, plays piano. Every night, it’s a fascinating new story.
Some friends invited my fiancée and me to their big house upstate, but then I think about Lorna and how excited she is every night — I wouldn’t even consider leaving her at this point.
— As told to Doree Lewak
Read more stories about neighbors helping each other.