Love and the Lockdown – The New York Times


Arina Yakobi is pretty sure she’s correct. Her first date with Michael Hausman, on Feb. 24, included a visit to Fotografiska, the photography museum on Manhattan’s East Side, followed by dinner at the museum’s on-site restaurant Verōika. In quick succession came date No. 2: a concert; date No. 3: a performance of the immersive theater piece “Sleep No More”; date No. 4: dinner at a Thai restaurant on the Upper West Side. Rounding things on March 12 was date No. 5: “Così Fan Tutte” at the Metropolitan Opera.

The next day, Mr. Hausman, 60, a music manager and the former drummer of the alternative rock band ’Til Tuesday, repaired to his house on Reeves Bay in the Hamptons and asked Ms. Yakobi, 53, an associate broker at the real estate firm Douglas Elliman, to come out for a couple of days.

Somewhere in the midst of the visit, a lockdown directive was issued for New York. “Michael said, ‘Why don’t you stay a few more days and see what pans out?’ ” recalled Ms. Yakobi, who, while acknowledging some trepidation — who knew how long lockdown or the relationship would last? — agreed to stick around for a bit. “We’ve now been on our 6th date for the last five months,” she continued. “I went out to the Hamptons and never left.”

During their idyll, the couple has cultivated a vegetable garden and acquired half a dozen chickens. Mr. Hausman built Ms. Yakobi a wooden tub and sauna. She, meanwhile, has done some rearranging of the furniture and added pillows and linens to upgrade the 1950s wood-frame house from weekend bachelor’s retreat to cozy nest for two.

“The pandemic sped things up for us,” Ms. Yakobi said. “We’re talking about the winter and next summer. It’s all kind of assumed. Of course, absent the virus, we would have made the effort, but there would have been the distraction of our jobs and friends and family.”

For some, like Ms. Yakobi and Mr. Hausman, Covid has been one part Cupid, one part relationship facilitator. “The pandemic was a lower-risk opportunity for us to figure things out,” said Brittany Fuller, 28, a product manager, who was based in San Francisco when the city went into lockdown and had to decide quickly if she wanted to quarantine alone in her rental (her roommates had already decamped elsewhere) or fly to Los Angeles and quarantine with her boyfriend of three months, Chandler Semjen.



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