Updated: Dec 13, 2022
It's been a really tough month and a half. For everybody. People have lost so much in the span of a few hours; and the impact from those few hours on October 29 have had a profound and resounding impact on Itaewon and the surrounding communities.
I am in Itaewon almost everyday, and every weekend as I walk through the desolate streets that were teeming with eager partygoers just several weeks ago, I find myself saying the same phrase over and over. "Wow this is worse than Covid." During Covid, people were at least willing to step out and enjoy a few moments of freedom until the weight of the Korean Government's mandatory curfew descended upon us. Yet, the weight of this situation rests on our consciouses in a very different way; and you can feel it in the air as you walk past Itaewon station.
On Saturday, Dec. 3 during Itaewon's usual peak time, I was amazed and concerned. Amazed at how clean the streets were on a Saturday night and yet concerned about how my fellow business owners (and I) are going to survive another Itaewon pandemic.
I'm not sure which is worse, a social pandemic or a health pandemic; but either way, the businesses, the owners, the staff and everyone that relies on its success is feeling more than just the gravity of traumatic memories, but the mounting pressure of missed payment deadlines, dead stock, labor fees, spoiled food and mounting bills.
There is, however, a silver lining. Within the past week, the air has felt a little different. People came out to see South Korea and their other favorite teams compete in the World Cup (aka Soccer Olympics, for the Americans 😉). We've had some well attended events at Lit Lounge and I saw that some of Itaewon's most popular bars were starting to get a little bit busier. Hopefully this is a positive sign of things to come. Christmas and New Year's Eve is rapidly approaching and I think instead of rolling our eyes at "holiday cheer", this year people are ready to accept as much holiday cheer as possible because, well, we need it.
For those reading, please go visit your favorite Itaewon business. Spread that holiday cheer and give the gift that keeps on giving, support. Thank you all for reading and as always, stay lit! 🔥