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Irish in New York: We have got a certain grit and will weather this deadly storm with our new neighbours

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Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

NEW York is known for being tough when it comes to finding everything from a job to an apartment or a date. But in recent weeks, the city has reclaimed the word and re-evaluated what it means to be 'New York Tough' - and that phrase's legacy will likely last a lot longer than the average viral hashtag.

The Irish in New York, who have hunkered down with frozen meals from Trader Joe's and supplies of Lysol wipes, are feeling more interwoven with the fabric of this intense city than ever before. We, too, fling open our windows at 7pm to cheer for the medical staff; finally catching a glimpse of what our neighbours look like. We're social distancing, but supporting each other from borough to borough with the abundance of technology at our disposal. We retweet and like hopeful #NewYorkTough video montages of our adopted home. When we have to go out in our makeshift bandana masks, we try to smile with our eyes to thank frontline workers. Because, as always, we are infinitely grateful for everything that this city has afforded us.

Like any New Yorkers worth their salt, we are tuning into Governor Cuomo's straight-talking daily press briefings to make sense of what is happening to the place we've already fought so hard to become a part of. Nothing can sugarcoat or diminish the reality. Each day, an average of 700 New Yorkers are losing their lives, as the number of confirmed positive cases state-wide crawls closer to the 200,000 mark. The unimaginable death toll, already five times the human cost of 9/11, doesn't even account for those who are dying in their homes.