On March 16, Marisa Migdal posted in her neighborhood Facebook group with a plea. “My two children were getting frustrated with not being able to go to playgrounds or touch anything when we went on walks,” says Migdal, who lives on the border of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. “It wasn’t as fun as fresh air should be.” Someone suggested trying what families in other parts of the world were doing: hanging drawings of rainbows in their windows for kids to spot on their daily walks, like a neighborhoodwide I Spy game. “All of a sudden, I needed help to make a Google Map of everyone participating,” Migdal says.
Word got around to Anna Grotzky, another Brooklyn resident, who volunteered to map all the quarantine rainbows in the neighborhood. She created a spreadsheet for people to post their addresses and share the project with others as “a lovely reminder for all of us that, in a storm, there is still something to look forward to.” And Brooklyn’s Quarantine Rainbow Connection was born.
“We go on a treasure hunt for rainbows, and it’s made our days,” says Migdal. “You can hear people pass by a rainbow and say, ‘Oh look, a rainbow!,’ and they run to the window and wave.” She went out the other day with her children expecting to use the map to find rainbows, but they spotted five without even looking at the phone. The Quarantine Rainbow Connection has extended beyond Brooklyn — to Chicago, Oakland, Mumbai, Montreal. When Migdal saw that someone in South America had added themselves to the map, she used it as an opportunity for a geography lesson with her daughter. “I think the kids had a hard time understanding we’re not the only ones stuck in our house,” Migdal says. “Knowing people around the world are facing the same thing has helped.”
*This article appears in the March 30, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!