Newlywed Alison Mahoney never had time to cook — until COVID-19 hit New York.
“I’m always running all over the place … Usually, I come home around 8, my husband cooks dinner and I pass out on the couch,” Mahoney, an event planner who lives in Harlem, tells The Post.
But within the first three days of quarantine, the 41-year-old “had used up all the all-purpose flour,” churning out homemade English muffins, crumb cake and banana bread. And that’s just the tip of her pandemic transformation.
“I’ve refinished two pieces of furniture and crocheted three hats and a dog sweater,” says Mahoney, who’s spent hours watching YouTube tutorial videos about cake decorating and the “challenging” cable-knit stitch. “I have all this time now — I figure I may as well get crafty.”
Ambitious, urbane NYC women are usually more into hustling than homemaking. But in the midst of the health crisis, boardroom badasses are embracing their inner housewives — and even finding joy in domestic tasks, such as knitting, embroidering and baking.
“I’m usually very busy,” says Mimi Tu, a 29-year-old university administrator who lives in Ridgewood. But now that she’s working from home, she has enough time to watch grass grow — as well as scallions and herbs, which she’s cultivating on her windowsill.
“It makes me feel productive and like there’s some result I can look forward to,” says the newfound container gardener. Between waterings, she’s honing her kitchen skills, whipping up cinnamon rolls, homemade pasta and focaccia bread.
Three months ago, if you’d told Queens DJ Kiki Feliz that she’d soon master boeuf bourguignon in her tiny kitchen, “I would’ve laughed in your face,” says the 27-year-old. “Before the pandemic, I think I’ve grocery shopped about 10 times in 3 ½ years of living in New York … and now I’m in the kitchen all day, every day.”
Now that she’s had a taste of the domestic life, she finds herself wanting more.
“I’ve thought about making bread,” says Feliz, who has yet to tackle the ubiquitous quarantine sourdough. “I definitely have plans to start a garden, and I want to teach myself how to sew, too.”
She could take pointers from 23-year-old Senochi Kang, who lives in Bushwick.
“I’ve ordered probably 10 cross-stitching and embroidery kits since this all started,” says Kang, who usually holds a demanding marketing job that keeps her “scrambling 24/7.”
Digging through her apartment for lockdown distractions, she unearthed a cross-stitching kit that a co-worker had gifted her. “It sat around in a tote for months,” says Kang — and now, it’s become her new obsession.
Since she’s picked up the needle and thread, “my anxiety has gone down,” says Kang, who plans to level up her stitch game in the coming weeks. “I’m trying to get into real embroidery and bedazzling, too. I hope to personalize my own clothes like a denim jacket or jeans, or start making patches.”
For her, quarantine’s brought her more than just a new hobby: It’s made her re-evaluate the city’s rat race and what she wants her life to look like post-pandemic.
“I’m going to try and move a little slower after this,” says Kang.
And Feliz, who’s originally from Texas, is going full “Little House on the Prairie.”
“In a lot of ways, I regressed in New York,” says the DJ. “I got swept up in the conveniences.”
When this is all over, she says, “I want to live on a farm, adopt a bunch of kids and make art.”
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