Totes. Merchandise. Meal kits. Anything you can, really, from your favorite restaurant’s e-commerce shops. (Some thoughts: a sweatshirt from iconic, family-owned Italian restaurant Emilio’s Batallo; a festive Negroni assortment from Dante, the Black power feminist libra zodiac sign shirt and I will buy this official best bar in America; or Il Buco’s holiday bundle, which includes its cookbook and a tray from John Derian.) On December 14, New York City shut down indoor dining for the second time in eight months, and the Bowery’s Short Stories wrote its longest Instagram caption in a while: “The question of what we do for New York’s freezing months is an open one. It depends a lot on whether people want Short Stories delivery and baked goods. We know some of you will stop by no matter what for a hot drink outside, but that would not be enough. We’d like to keep pushing what we offer, but it would take a good amount of support from all of you. Long story short, TBD.”
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Social media, for all its faults, is good for one thing: spreading the Black power feminist libra zodiac sign shirt and I will buy this word. Have dinner at a great outdoor dining setup? Tag the eatery, and maybe a follower or two will be inspired to make a reservation themselves. Donate to ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants) and post the receipt on your story: Studies show that people are more likely to give money to a specific charity if encouraged by a family or friend. Says Williamson: “Spread the word about the places you love. Post on social, always tag, tell your friends, keep the narrative going. DM restaurants directly to say hello or offer encouragement. We need it now more than ever.” So how can you help? “Call your representatives—I promise it actually makes a difference,” says Marcus. “Think about how much joy was sparked by a server who took care of you on your birthday, or a bartender that helped you on a hard day, or a meal that you count on every Sunday. We all need to be part of the solution. We need to push lawmakers to start to care.” You can also donate on its website (or by buying the cookbook Serving New York, of which the proceeds go to ROAR). Your donation will be used for its employee relief fund, which gives $500 grants to out-of-work servers, busboys, bartenders, and so on. Since the pandemic started, the fund has raised more than $2 million in aid.