Sophie and Emily Ward pose for a photograph with their hand-drawn picture of rainbows on their window. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

After a gloomy storm comes a beautiful rainbow, so Long Islanders are displaying multicolor arcs as uplifting symbols of hope to boost spirits amid the painful fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Homemade rainbow decorations are increasingly being found in windows, hung on fences, adorning vehicles, and scribbled in chalk on sidewalks across Nassau and Suffolk counties. In New York City, some call it the Quarantine Rainbow Project. The movement comes as residents look for a way to share positivity during the sometimes saddening reclusion of stay-at-home orders intended to keep the disease from spreading.

“We started to see them popping up on our street and then we put our own up,” says Blythe Worster, a married mother of two and art teacher who painted a giant rainbow on her living room window. She counts 50 in her Bellmore neighborhood alone. “Every day we go and we walk and there’s been more and more popping up.”

The trend goes beyond LI’s shores. The Empire State Building got in on the act with its spire lit up in rainbow colors recently. Rainbows of hope have also been popping up in other cities nationwide and across the globe in countries similarly impacted by COVID-19.

The vibrant colors of rainbows not only have a way of helping people look on the bright side of tough times. Creating rainbow decorations also gives parents of children home from school a fun, life-affirming activity. And the exercise helps build a sense of community at a time when many feel isolated by the quarantine mandates.

“This is a beautiful way of virtually connecting,” Tonia Torrellas wrote in the Facebook group Rainbows over Nassau and Suffolk Counties and Beyond, “in this world of distancing.”

A massive rainbow hangs on the fence outside Islip Middle School.
Rainbow hearts and a message of hope adorn a Babylon window. (Photo by Annie Wilkinson)
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