Brandon Woolf is a professor at New York University directing the Program in Dramatic Literature. In addition to teaching Zoom classes, the performance artist with a PhD has been passing time with a project he calls “The Console,” short for the consolation. He has a portable desk, chair and old-fashioned typewriter set up on a sidewalk in New York City with a sign that says “Free Letters for Friends Feeling Blue.” Inspired by the tradition of writing condolence notes, Mr. Woolf will fully write or collaborate with the friend who asks him to draft a letter. While some people avoid him and look away, he gets a customer each time he sets up shop. He estimates that he has written more than 50 letters so far.

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