Business as Unusual is the working title of an ongoing documentary film project I am directing. Beginning in April of 2020 when the mandatory NYC shelter in place order went into effect I began chronicling the experience of 12 independent businesses in the North Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint as they navigate the challenges of running a business in one of the most difficult cities in the world during a global health crisis.
Amongst the subjects are a club owner who opened a sister bar a week before the shutdown, the seafood restaurant turned fish market, a neighborhood barbershop which was forcibly shut down by the police, a bookstore / cafe turned contactless produce co-op, and a coffeeshop owner forced to reopen despite his own health concerns.
These stories of local business owners are heighten versions of the experiences many of us are experiencing. What does the future hold and what will our neighborhoods and communities look like on the other end of this?