March 22, 2020. It’s spring in New York tonight, but the air smells like snow. I hop in a Uber at 7.40 pm. The hand on the wheel wears latex gloves, my hands do too. The car smells like alcohol, I can’t figure out if from hard liquor or disinfectant. We pass by an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Crown Heights. Two ambulances and a few people with masks outside. Depending on where I look these days it feels like the apocalypse or absolute normality, and that’s how I feel inside too. I’m home by 8 pm, the time when a long-awaited lockdown falls on the city. As I get inside the building I see a notification on my phone. The haze has thinned out over China, which is seeing blue skies again after too long.
When spring fell on New York City in 2020 I started a diary for the grandchildren I’ll likely never have, to help them imagine a time that already sounds like a science fiction story from the past. Writing and photographing as if the unfolding events were just another dystopian tale became my mental refuge.
This work has been developed with the support of ICP and Cortona on the Move, Covid19 Visual Project.