What Does a City Look Like When It Turns On Its Own?


The reopening of New York has created a feast of sights, smells, tastes, textures and sounds. The New York Times asked photographers to convey how the city nurtures every sense.

Jolie Ruben and


Ok McCausland tried to capture the taste. “There is a moment when everyone is about to dive into something they love. I was looking for that moment,” he said—like a band about to dive into a popcorn pit at a Mets game, or a piece of meat being eaten at Katz’s Deli in Manhattan.


Tess Ayano crossed New York for a week in search of contact. “I was looking for moments and vignettes that you can only find when you’re part of the city,” Ayano said, like the little boy who paused to greet him in Chinatown, or the strangers breaking the ice on their dogs in Washington Square Park. “Even if there was no physical contact, there was still the possibility of connection.”


Dane Manary set out to portray the vision, finding the trajectory of a barbershop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side as much from the viewpoint of the Empire State Building observatory. He also found something else: a sense of longing – a kind of remote viewing. “You want to go out and see things to see, but there is also a void and a bit of darkness,” he said.


Gabriela Bhaskar, her photography companion for The Times, wandered New York City, adjusting to the scent and the memories she often evoked, such as the familiar scent of the day before the garbage collection in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or the rippling aromas of roasted coffee. Nut cars in Harlem. “I can’t walk around town without stimulating my mind with scents. What do I notice?” said Bhaskar.


New York is roaring. McCausland has deafened his ears to “sounds that pull you in,” whether it’s the screaming arguments of a demolition cleanup team, a loud pickup basketball game, or an impromptu mother-daughter karaoke duet. “The environment is already very stimulating,” McCausland said. “You are everywhere, all the time, at the same time.”


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