An Old Tradition Brought Back by One Selfless Man

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, millions of people have found it vital to stay connected with friends and family. Of course, some of the best ways to do this is by using social media, video calling, or even writing letters. 

That’s right, writing letters is still a thing, and in New York, there was one man who wanted to keep that long-standing tradition going. Brandon Woolf, a New York University English professor, set up a station on a sidewalk where he would write letters for his neighbors or people who happen to be passing by. His intention was simply to keep people connected during this time of social isolation. From October 14 to November 2, every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, Woolf typed up letters at the dictation of customers, sometimes adding his own touches or even letting customers type their own letters. Woolf has charged no one for this service.

The station, which Woolf called The Console (short for consolation), was pretty simple: a portable typewriter on top of a foldable table. Next to The Console was a mailbox where stamps, paper, envelopes, and even hand sanitizer were available.

Good News Network reported that by the end of his “performance,” he had written letters for over 50 people. “What is a better experience than getting a piece of mail in your mailbox from somebody you didn’t expect to hear from?” Woolf told The Park Slope Scribe.

The Console is one of many acts Woolf has put on since the start of his career, and they have been documented in newspapers, scholarly forums, and even a single film. Woolf has also highlighted this and many other performances in YouTube videos, which are available for viewing at https://youtu.be/t8K8vcM2S38.

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